Unimmunized households responsible for the majority of school-aged COVID cases

A full 98 per cent of school-aged COVID cases during a recent 18 day period in Saskatchewan came from unimmunized or partly immunized households.

In a review of the 1,643 confirmed COVID-19 cases between August 20 and September 7, 334 school age children had contracted COVID. The majority of these identified cases (189 cases or 56.5 per cent) were in youngsters aged six to 12. During a case identification of these COVID cases, it was determined 78 households were unimmunized or partially immunized, while two of the households were fully immunized.

The province also announced that as of today (September 21), four children under 11 are in hospital; none are in ICU.

Children can contract, transmit and become ill with COVID-19 though the risk for serious health outcomes is lower than older populations. Current evidence indicates children with underlying medical conditions and infants less than 12 months may be at elevated risk to COVID-19 illnesses, similar to the 80+ age group.

At this time, children under 12 years are not eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Canada. Recent news on clinical trials in this age group is encouraging, and the province will move quickly to provide COVID-19 vaccine to additional age groups as soon as any vaccine receives Health Canada approvals.

Until that approval is granted, our best defense of pediatric COVID cases is to increase vaccination rates among all eligible residents. All Saskatchewan residents who will be 12 years as of December 31, 2021 and older are eligible for vaccination.