The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that data has shown that the spread of the omicron variant is what fuels a spike in hospitalizations in young children 4-years-old and younger at a rate five times that of when the delta variant was previously spreading.
The omicron variant saw its predominance around late December 2021. Infants younger than 6-months-old saw the highest rates of hospitalizations, but symptom severity didn't appear to differ by age group, the CDC reported.
The agency said that vaccinations of currently eligible populations like pregnant women, family members and caregivers of infants along with young children are among the top recommended ways to prevent severe COVID-19 and hospitalizations.
Omicron began to surge from Dec. 19 to Feb. 21, and the hospitalization rate peaked for young children, showing 14.5 out of each 100,000 in the general population had to be hospitalized, UPI reported.
During the peak of the delta variant last summer, the rate of hospitalizations for young children was at 2.9 out of each 100,000 in the general population, according to the CDC. Out of the children hospitalized during omicron's surge, 63% did not have an underlying medical condition.