Under-18s are at ‘extremely low’ risk of severe illness or death from Covid-19, according to new studies from a group of UK universities.
Only 251 children and teenagers in the UK were admitted to intensive care with Covid-19 during the 12 months to February 28 2021, according to an analysis of public health data.
During that same period, 25 under-18s in the UK died from Covid-19, a separate but linked study found.
The authors of the two studies as well as a third related one, described them as “the most comprehensive analyses of data” to date on severe illness and death from Covid-19 among children and teens.
The study that focused on intensive care for Covid-19 among young people, for example, looked at hospital admissions data between 2015 and 2021, linking it to data on intensive care admissions, deaths and coronavirus test results.
The reports found that the risk of serious illness was slightly higher for young people with pre-existing medical conditions and severe disabilities who caught Covid-19.
Their findings will inform vaccination and quarantine policies, “not just in the UK but internationally,” said Russell Viner, professor at University College London and senior author of two of the studies, in a statement.
The researchers at UCL, Imperial College London, University of Liverpool, University of Bristol and University of York who conducted the analyses said they plan to submit the three studies to the World Health Organisation and to two UK government entities which shape vaccination and Covid-19-related policies.