What we now know about the impact of COVID-19 on those under 18-years-old

Trials for those ages 5 to 12-years-old is getting started and a vaccine could be available by next year

SAN ANTONIO – KSAT Producer Priscilla Carraman successfully avoided getting COVID-19 for a year, but then the February storm hit and her family was forced to seek shelter with family members.

Just days later, she received bad news from one of those family members — they had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Sure enough, within the next three days, my husband, myself and my two-month-old all tested positive,” Carraman said. Her biggest concern was her infant.

“I felt nervous because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with my small child. It’s different when I had it or my husband had it — we can handle it,” she said. “But with the baby, there’s so many unknown things about how it’s going to affect them. And yeah, we were really scared.”

She says prior to the baby testing positive, her daughter was irritable.

“The day she tested positive, she was really congested,” she explains. But the baby never got a fever and the family was better after a few days. Carraman’s 11-year-old daughter never tested positive for the virus.

Although they were around her, they quarantined separately but remained in the same house and she never got it.

Pediatrician Seth Kaplan, president of the Texas Pediatric Society, said there’s still a lot unknown about why COVID-19 impacts children differently.

“The good news is that of those who do get sick, most children still have very, very mild illness courses,” said Kaplan.

The rate of kids who got sick and were hospitalized and those who died from COVID-19 is very low, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A study by the University of Mississippi Medical Center released this month showed that COVID-19 was more prevalent in children than thought. Scientists looked for antibodies in blood collected.

Kaplan said that could be a really good indication about where we are in getting ahold of this pandemic.

“Maybe we’re that much closer to getting to herd immunity,” he said. “And that means that the rate of those very serious complications, such as MISC-C were even lower than we thought they were because they occur against the background of a much higher number of cases.”

Kaplan said vaccine studies on kids over the age of 12 are wrapping up and that could mean there would be a vaccine around the time the new school year starts. Trials for those ages 5 to 12-years-old is getting started and a vaccine for them could be available by early next year.

Metro Health reports that about 20% of those who contracted the virus since they started tracking last year are under the age of 18-years-old.

More on KSAT:

Texas BioMed CEO reflects on its crucial role in vaccine development

Free COVID-19 tests for Southside, Southwest and Judson ISD students returning from spring break

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.