How has COVID-19 affected the youngest Georgians?

Savana Jordan, Kennedi Hill, Ms. Micahiah Drake and Reign Smith work on their art projects about autumn at Liberty Point Elementary School in Union City, Georgia, on Friday, October 16, 2020. Ms. Micahiah Drake is a first-year Pre-K techer at Liberty Point Elementary School and has had to adjust her teaching style because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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Savana Jordan, Kennedi Hill, Ms. Micahiah Drake and Reign Smith work on their art projects about autumn at Liberty Point Elementary School in Union City, Georgia, on Friday, October 16, 2020. Ms. Micahiah Drake is a first-year Pre-K techer at Liberty Point Elementary School and has had to adjust her teaching style because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

White House announced that kids up to 5 may be cleared for vaccination by late June

The youngest Georgians currently can’t get vaccinated for COVID-19, but that might change by the end of this month.

President Joe Biden’s administration announced last week that children up to 5 years old — the only group not federally approved for vaccination — could receive clearance as soon as June 21. In Georgia, there are roughly 661,000 children in that age group according to the latest Census results.

The Food and Drug Administration’s panel of advisers will meet June 14 and 15 to discuss authorizing Pfizer and Moderna shots for the youngest children. If approved, first doses would likely be made available as soon as the following week, according to White House COVID-19 coordinator Ashish Jha.

“At the end of the day we all want to move fast, but we’ve got to get it right,” he said, adding that it’s the administration’s goal to give parents enough time to vaccinate their young children before the beginning of the next school year.

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The number of infections among young kids sharply increased during the delta and omicron waves. At the beginning of this year when omicron infections peaked, roughly 10 times as many children up to 5 were getting sick in comparison to last week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


BY THE NUMBERS

Here’s how the pandemic has affected the youngest Georgians, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health:

60,522 — The number of confirmed COVID-19 infections for children up to 5 years old in Georgia since the onset of the pandemic. About a fourth of those cases were in children younger than 1 year old.

1,345 — This is how many children up to 5 years old have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. More than half of those hospitalizations involved children younger than 1 year old.

12 — A dozen children up to 5 years old have died due to COVID-19 in Georgia. Five of those deaths were children younger than 1 year old. Of those who died, five were Black, four were white and three were listed as “other.”

ExploreComplete Coverage: Coronavirus in Georgia