COVID Vaccinated Children More Likely to Be Hospitalized for Respiratory Illness

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A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) found that more than half of the children treated at emergency departments (EDs) and hospitalized for respiratory illness between July 1, 2022 and Sept. 30, 2023 had been vaccinated for COVID-19, compared to less than half of unvaccinated children.1 2 3 4

The study, which examined data from the New Vaccine Surveillance Network (NVSN) of children six months to four years of age treated at seven pediatric medical centers in the United States, looked at 6,377 children who had never received a dose of an mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) COVID shot (either Pfizer/BioNTech's Comirnaty or Moderna/NIAID's Spikevax), 776 children who had received at least two doses, and 281 children who had received one dose.1 2 3

The  NVSN conducts population-based, prospective surveillance for acute respiratory illness (ARI) in children at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania; Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri; Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio; Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester, New York; Seattle Children's Hospital in Washington; Texas Children's Hospital in Houston and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.3

Of the vaccinated children in the study, 55 percent were hospitalized for a respiratory illness, while only 44 percent of the unvaccinated children were hospitalized.1 2 3

Vaccinated Kids at Higher Risk for Inpatient Hospitalization

Commenting on the results of the study, Harvey Risch, MD, PhD, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, stated:

This means that upon visiting hospital emergency departments, compared to unvaccinated children, vaccinated children had increased risks of inpatient hospitalization, very statistically significantly so.1 2

According to the study, children who were vaccinated for COVID were also more likely to have undergone intensive care, require supplemental oxygen and die. Despite this, the CDC study observed that receipt of two or more mRNA COVID shot doses was 40 percent "effective in preventing COVID-19-associated ED visits and hospitalization."1 2 3

Dr. Risch, however, noted:

No one cares whether the vaccines reduce COVID-associated hospitalization if at the same time they increase non-COVID-associated hospitalization.1 2


1 Stieber Z. Children With Respiratory Illnesses at Pediatric Centers More Likely to Be Hospitalized if Vaccinated: CDC StudyThe Epoch Times Dec. 22, 2023.

2 Tannis A et al. SARS-CoV-2 Epidemiology and COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Effectiveness Among Infants and Children Aged 6 Months-4 Years -- New Vaccine Surveillance Network, United States, July 2022-September 2023.  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Dec. 1, 2023; 72(48): 1300-1306.

3 Weldon R. COVID-19 vaccination reduces risk for ED visit, hospitalization by 40% among children. Healio Dec. 7, 2023.

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