Some of the clearest data comes from countries or regions with exceptionally high vaccination rates among the adult population. Israel, for example, has one of the highest per-capita vaccination rates in the world, and reopened most school buildings by March. But case rates still dropped dramatically among children younger than 11, as they did for people 16 and older.
Similar evidence came from Serrana, Brazil, where 98% of adults have been vaccinated. Research found that symptomatic infections dropped by roughly 80% among both adults and unvaccinated children as a result, according to reporting in Nature, an academic journal.
“So, there’s data showing that once vaccinations start picking up in adults, you actually have protection in children,” Bell said. “Children are less likely to be infected, and that’s because the most common mode of transmission to a child is from an adult they’re in close contact with.”
Experts are hoping the message will resonate as schools prepare for what, in some cases, will be the first return to full in-person learning since the start of the pandemic. Children and young adults have made up a growing share of the state’s new infections since early April — a trend that could be driven by the rise of more contagious variants. And while the risk of severe outcomes are lower for children, they can happen.
A recent CDC study of hospitalizations among 12- to 17-year-olds found they were far more prevalent among Black and Latino children, as well as children with underlying medical conditions. Virginia also has recorded 76 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C — a rare COVID-associated condition that’s also disproportionately affected Black and Latino youth.
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