Aug 31, 2022 - COVID

Most kids in Washington state got COVID

Data: CDC; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

More than 7 in 10 children in Washington state have already been infected with COVID-19, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: Earlier this month, the CDC released results from its latest survey on the seroprevalence of antibodies in children.

  • Blood samples taken in May and June suggest 71.4% of Washington children between the ages of 6 months and 17 years have been infected with COVID-19 at least once.

The big picture: That's lower than the national average, which was 79.7%.

Why it matters: The latest BA.5 subvariant of Omicron is now the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S., and it's the most transmissible since the start of the pandemic, Axios' Tina Reed writes.

  • The new strain is more resistant to vaccines and can evade antibodies from prior Omicron infections.
  • While studies suggest long COVID is rarer in children, they can still develop it.
  • Of note: Although vaccines protect against hospitalization and serious illness, they don't always prevent infection, particularly with newer variants.

Zoom in: About 86.5% of Washington state's population ages 16 and older has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But younger residents have a much lower vaccination rate.

  • Only 37.3% of Washingtonians ages 5 to 11 have gotten their first vaccine dose, per the state Department of Health.
  • The figure is even lower for children ages 6 months to 4 years old, who have only been eligible to receive vaccines since June.

What we're watching: Whether the start of school will drive a new round of infections — especially with masks no longer required in the classroom.

  • Booster shots geared toward fighting the Omicron BA.5 variant are expected to be available to people 12 and older starting next week.
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