Many parents felt like things were improving after the winter Omicron wave. In this article, read about the effects of the BA.2 subvariant on our children. As the BA.2 Omicron subvariant continues to spread worldwide, it appears that the “return to normal” may not be as easy as parents thought.
COVID cases skyrocketed in the United States in December 2021 and January 2022 due to a strain known as Omicron, of which BA.2 is a sublineage. More than half of all Omicron infections in the United States were caused by BA.2 as of March 29. 4 To compare the BA.2 subvariant to the BA.1 and BA1.1 variants of Omicron is not difficult. BA.2 looks to be more contagious than BA.1.
Some evidence suggests that the BA.2 variation spreads more easily and rapidly than the original. According to the most reliable data available, the BA.2 variant is 30-60% more infectious than the BA.1 Omicron variant.
With its higher potential for spreading, BA.2 could lead to a rise in infections; fortunately, however, it does not appear to make patients sicker than previous Omicron strains. For instance, recent studies conducted in Denmark did not reveal an increase in the occurrence of serious illnesses requiring hospitalization.
Furthermore, the World Health Organization reports that our BA.2 vaccines are still effective in preventing hospitalization and death (WHO). There should be some degree of protection against a BA.2 infection afforded by prior infection with other Omicron sublineages.
Parents whose children had confirmed cases of COVID around the holidays can rest easy knowing that recent infection with BA.1 appears to provide good protection against infection with BA.2. Less than 50 cases of BA.2 reinfection following BA.1 infection were detected in a Danish survey of 1.8 million persons.
How Do Children Show Signs of BA.2?
It is unclear how symptoms in children with BA.2 differ from those with other COVID strains, including other Omicron lineages. To date, we know that BA.2 symptoms can include things like fever, sore throat, cough, headache, exhaustion, and gastrointestinal disturbance, which are all characteristics shared by other COVID strains.
What’s most crucial is being aware of when your kid’s symptoms can warrant a doctor’s visit. A youngster who is difficult to wake up, have difficulties breathing, or won’t keep fluids down for several hours should be evaluated by a doctor.
If your child is at risk from BA.2, what steps can you take to safeguard them?
Even though mask laws have been repealed in most parts of the United States, including in schools, they should be reinstated under certain conditions.
In addition, parents should ensure their children who are eligible receive the vaccine. Only 34.5 percent of children ages 5 to 11 and 68.5 percent of those ages 12 to 17 have received all recommended vaccinations.
Getting vaccinated reduces the probability of hospitalization, despite the fact that the vaccine’s efficacy declines over time. Hospitalizations among children and adolescents were reduced by 73% to 94% after receiving two doses of a vaccine, according to CDC research.
The effectiveness of the vaccines against the original Omicron form in the’real world’ is only now becoming available. Children aged 12–17, who were eligible for immunization far earlier than children aged 5–11, were protected against hospitalization, according to the available data.
If your child is older and has already been vaccinated but not boosted, it is something to think about as well. There is substantial proof that the third dose significantly increased their resistance to Omicron infection.
The pandemic has been incredibly trying for families, and it may feel like the terrible news is never going to stop. The enhanced contagiousness of BA.2 certainly causes concern, but you should take consolation in the fact that your child should be protected to some extent by either natural immunity or vaccination. Additional preventative measures, such as masks, may be implemented if an increase in cases is observed as a result of BA.2. Talk to your kid’s pediatrician if you have any specific concerns about what BA.2 means for your child.