During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the risks to children related to COVID-19 infection were considered very low. Nonetheless, a subset of children with severe infections were admitted to hospital, required intensive care and experienced longer-term health issues. After society re-opened in 2021, infection rates were very high in children, but the consequences of this, in terms of any severe disease and re-infections with COVID-19 are poorly understood.
In children under 18 years old, we will explore factors, which may affect the risk of certain types of significant illness with COVID-19 infection such as needing hospital admission, health complications such as seizures and diabetes. The factors we will consider include age, pre-existing diseases, obesity, ethnicity and socioeconomic deprivation. We will explore the relationship between these risk factors and COVID-19 re infections in children. We will also use the fact that the dominant type (or ‘variant’) of COVID-19 has changed to different ones in specific and known time periods, to explore whether these risks or any potential disease impacts in children have changed over time with pandemic waves. We will use the same dataset to explore the risks versus benefit of COVID-19 vaccination in children.
Better understanding of any significant health consequences linked to COVID-19 infection in children, and risk factors for these, could help to inform child health policy, for example, policies on vaccination in children and the provision of expert health services to address health care needs in affected children.
Hospital admissions linked to SARS-CoV-2 infection in children: a cohort study of 3.2 million first ascertained infections in England
- Paper submitted to a journal (decision pending)
- Code and phenotypes used to produce this paper are available in GitHub here