As the federal government appears ready to approve Covid-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, data shows that September was the country’s worst month for new cases and deaths.
Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that cases among children peaked in September, as many schools opened for in-person classes amid the country’s delta variant Covid surge. More than 6 million children have tested positive for Covid since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than 1.1 million new cases recorded from Sept. 3 to Sept. 30.
The American Academy of Pediatrics obtains its data from individual states, which have varying definitions of “child.” Some include 19-year-olds, and West Virginia includes people up to age 20.
Only a small proportion of young children with Covid get severely ill or die. Though weekly data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Covid deaths among children under age 15 also reached its highest level in September, only 41 children died of Covid from Sept. 4 to Oct. 2.
CDC data shows that children under 12 years old made up less than 1 percent of all Covid deaths since January 2020.
Vaccinations for young children could begin within weeks. Pfizer and BioNTech on Oct. 7 requested emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for their Covid vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, and an FDA advisory committee will discuss the authorization on Oct. 26.
The White House has told governors to start preparing for child vaccinations beginning as early as November.
Nigel Chiwaya is a deputy data editor for NBC News.
Jiachuan Wu is a national interactive journalist for NBC News.