The Omicron variant of COVID was first discovered from South Africa by Dr. Angelique Coetzee (Chairwoman, South African Medical Association), and reported to the World Health Organisation in November 2021. In the thick of rumors and scares about this new variant, people have been concerned about Omicron affecting children.
Soumya Swaminathan (Chief scientist, World Health Organisation) has warned that the Omicron variant has a higher risk of infecting children and unvaccinated people. In South Africa, many cases of Omicron in children have been reported.
Infection in Children
The rate of infection among children aged less than five years has increased after the detection of Omicron in South Africa. Waseela Jasat (public health expert at South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases) said, "There has been an increase in the rate of hospitalization of children under the age of five." Children of all ages are being affected, but the infection seems to be spreading more rapidly in children below five years of age.
Symptoms of Omicron in Kids
According to various doctors, the symptoms of Omicron are varied in different people. Children show moderate to severe symptoms, and generally need oxygen, supportive therapy, and a longer hospital stay. High fever, persistent cough, scratchy throat, fatigue, body aches, and headaches are symptoms children and patients affected with omicron usually present with.
Vaccination for Children
The World Health Organisation has highlighted the need for vaccination in children, following which, more than 30 countries have begun vaccination for children. The minimum age for vaccination is different in different countries. India is yet to begin vaccination for children.