With kids and long COVID, there are more questions than answers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

By Caitlin Owens | Axios

Children, like adults, are at risk of developing “long COVID.” But experts are still struggling to understand what, exactly, that risk level is.

Why it matters: As the work to determine how common certain coronavirus vaccine side effects are in children, it’s important to balance these risks against the risk of children remaining unvaccinated — which includes their risk of long-term health issues if they get infected.

The big picture: Pediatricians across the country say it’s unclear how common long COVID is in children.

That’s in part because we don’t know how many kids have been infected by the virus. But it’s           also because “most kids with COVID long-haul aren’t coming to the surface. We’re not finding them,” said Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

“We don’t know the numerator or the denominator,” she said, adding that the condition is probably less common in children than adults.

Between the lines: Parents have been trying to balance the pandemic’s risk to children with its             disruption to their lives for more than a year. Kids generally don’t get as sick from the virus as adults do, although a small percentage do have severe cases.


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June 2021