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Almost one third of Covid cases in last two weeks in children under 13

Positivity rates in some areas is as high as 25%.

Image: Leah Farrell

AROUND ONE THIRD of Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks have been in those aged under 13, the HSE has said.

HSE CEO Paul Reid said 75% of cases in the last 14 days were among people aged under 34 and 32% of people who tested positive were children under 13.

Overall, testing demand is up, particularly in Dublin, Donegal, Louth, Galway and Meath and the positivity rate is now 8.8%, though in some centres it is as high as 25%.

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said in order to reach herd immunity in Ireland, vaccination would have to be expanded to younger age groups. 

He said the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has to consider the relative risks and benefits for children as Covid-19 presents a very low risk for children in terms of serious illness and hospitalisation.

Dr Henry said there is “disagreement internationally” on the issue and he does not expect NIAC to “emphatically recommend” vaccinating children at this stage. 

“Certainly they’re looking at teenagers, aged 12-16, but with younger age groups I expect it’s going to be more complicated,” he said. 

Dr Henry also shared data on Covid deaths and hospitalisations among people who were either partially or fully vaccinated.

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Of the 70 Covid deaths between 13 May and 13 July:

  • 41 were unvaccinated
  • 17 were partially vaccinated
  • 12 were fully vaccinated

All fully vaccinated people who died were over the age of 65 and only two died more than 14 days after second jab.

The majority (88%) of partially or fully vaccinated patients admitted to ICU with Covid-19 between 25 March and 11 July had an underlying condition. Only six of these people were fully vaccinated.

Dr Henry said discussion about breakthrough cases can lead to some misunderstanding about the efficacy of vaccines. He said vaccines are at least 90% effective at preventing serious illness and even when case numbers are high, there will be fewer cases of Covid if a large number of people are vaccinated.

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