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The Pandemic’s Impact on Children: COVID Vaccinations & Mental Health

Published on: November 18, 2021.


140,000 children

have lost a parent or a grandparent caregiver to COVID-19

About this Data Insights

Children’s health care professionals in the US have declared a national state of emergency in child and adolescent mental health. The ongoing stress, fear, grief, disruption of schooling and uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic has weighed heavily on children and teens, and many are having a tough time coping emotionally.

More than 140,000 children have experienced the death of a parent or grandparent caregiver from COVID-19. Black, Latino, and Native American children have been hit especially hard. Research shows they have had up to 4.5 times the risk of losing a caregiver to COVID, compared to White children. As of November 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all children 5-11 be vaccinated against COVID-19, making shots available to an additional 28 million more children. The CDC estimates vaccinating all these children, 5-11 years old, could prevent around 600,000 new COVID cases.

Citations
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CDC COVID-19 vaccine recommendation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens, October 21, 2021

Child cumulative COVID-19 case total: American Academy of Pediatrics, Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report, November 11, 2021

  • NOTE: Last updated on November 11, 2021

Over 1-4 new cases is a child case: American Academy of Pediatrics, Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report, November 11, 2021

  • NOTE: Last updated on November 11, 2021

Vaccination rates among children

Vaccination Percentage 12-15: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID Data Tracker, November 17, 2021

  • NOTE: Last updated on November 17, 2021

Vaccination Percentage 16-17: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID Data Tracker, November 14, 2021

  • NOTE: Last updated on November 14, 2021

Vaccination Percentage older than 12: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States, November 17, 2021

  • NOTE: Last updated on November 17, 2021

Planning on vaccinating 5-11: Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: October 2021, October 28, 2021

Planning on vaccinating under 5 : Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: Vaccination Trends Among Children And COVID-19 In Schools, September 30, 2021

FDA authorizes vaccine for young children: Food and Drug Administration (FDA), FDA Authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use in Children 5 through 11 Years of Age, October 29, 2021

Preventing 600,000 cases: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), EtR Framework: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 5–11 years, November 2, 2021

  • NOTE: Modeling based off projection from November 2021 to March 2022

COVID in schools and mandatory quarantining

Children forced home from school top quarantine: Yahoo News/YouGov poll, Poll: Nearly a quarter of U.S. parents say COVID has forced their kids to quarantine this school year, October 7, 2021

  • NOTE: The survey of 1,640 U.S. adults was conducted from October 1-4, 2021

Most parents are worried about their child getting sick: Yahoo News/YouGov poll, Poll: Nearly a quarter of U.S. parents say COVID has forced their kids to quarantine this school year, October 7, 2021

  • NOTE: The survey of 1,640 U.S. adults was conducted from October 1-4, 2021

Most parents support masks in schools: Yahoo News/YouGov poll, Poll: Nearly a quarter of U.S. parents say COVID has forced their kids to quarantine this school year, October 7, 2021

  • NOTE: The survey of 1,640 U.S. adults was conducted from October 1-4, 2021

COVID-19 pandemics impact on children's well-being

Pediatricians are sounding the alarm on children's mental health: American Academy of Pediatrics, AAP-AACAP-CHA Declaration of a National Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, October 19, 2021

Children’s ED visits during the pandemic: Leeb RT, Bitsko RH, Radhakrishnan L, Martinez P, Njai R, Holland KM. Mental Health–Related Emergency Department Visits Among Children Aged <18 Years During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, January 1–October 17, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1675–1680.

140,000 children have lost a caregiver: National Institutes of Health (NIH), More than 140,000 U.S. children lost a primary or secondary caregiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic, October 7, 2021

American Indian, Black & Hispanic children were 4.5x more likely to lose a caregiver: National Institutes of Health (NIH), More than 140,000 U.S. children lost a primary or secondary caregiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic, October 7, 2021

Combating low vaccination rates and poor mental health

What mental health specialists can do

Reducing access and financial barriers: The White House, FACT SHEET: Improving Access and Care for Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Conditions, October 19, 2021

Integrate mental health into primary care: The White House, FACT SHEET: Improving Access and Care for Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Conditions, October 19, 2021

Invest in community-based mental health: The White House, FACT SHEET: Improving Access and Care for Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Conditions, October 19, 2021

Increase school-based behavioral supports: The White House, FACT SHEET: Improving Access and Care for Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Conditions, October 19, 2021

What primary care can do

Increase the number of pediatric providers offering the COVID vaccine: The Commonwealth Fund, Five Priorities for States to Support Pediatric Practices in Delivering COVID-19 Vaccines to Children, October 29, 2021

Encourage the vaccine at every doctor's visit: Anderson EL. Recommended solutions to the barriers to immunization in children and adults. Mo Med. 2014;111(4):344-348.

Implement a reminder/recall system: Anderson EL. Recommended solutions to the barriers to immunization in children and adults. Mo Med. 2014;111(4):344-348.

Increase partnerships between health care and community organizations: The Commonwealth Fund, Five Priorities for States to Support Pediatric Practices in Delivering COVID-19 Vaccines to Children, October 29, 2021

What schools can do

School based mental health programs: MentalHealth.gov, For Educators, March 22, 2019

Educate and train teachers in mental health first aid: MentalHealth.gov, For Educators, March 22, 2019

What can schools do to fight the spread of COVID: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Know What to Expect at Your Child’s K-12 School or Early Care and Education Program, August 4, 2021

  • Mandate vaccinations among students and staff

  • Mask mandate on school grounds and transportation

  • Physical distancing, cohorts, and regular testing

What families can do

Recommendation to protect unvaccinated family members : Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Families and COVID-19, November 3, 2021

Wear a mask in indoor settings: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Families and COVID-19, November 3, 2021

Choose outdoor activites: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Families and COVID-19, November 3, 2021

Teach kids to wash their hands: Parents, 8 Ways to Decrease Your Family's Chances of Getting the Coronavirus, October 7, 2021

Talk to children about COVID: National Association of School Psychologists, Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19, 2020


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