Can children be a reservoir of covid-19, because they are not vaccinated?

30 June, 2021

We analyze the possibility of contagion in children by not being vaccinated.

Now that the children’s holidays begin, many grandparents have to take care of them and some are worried about the possibility of becoming infected through them since kids are not vaccinated.

The prestigious journal Nature has published an article that deals with this matter and that we comment on below. Coronavirus infections have decreased with adult vaccination. For example, in the Brazilian city of Serrana, 98% of the adult population has been vaccinated, observing an 80% decrease in cases of Covid-19 infection along with a 95% decrease in deaths. In addition, a similar decrease in coronavirus infections was found in unvaccinated children in that city. Similar data have also been reported in countries with a high vaccination rate, such as Israel or the United States. In the latter country, the infection rate in those under 18 years of age has decreased by 84% between January and May.

What is group immunity?

These events may be due to what is called herd immunity, meaning that vaccinated adults protect unvaccinated people, including children, from infection. On the other hand, it is known that children are less likely than adults to transmit the virus. This is because children have fewer of the receptors that the coronavirus uses to enter and infect cells.

COVID-19 in the school environment

However, other data contradict what has been stated so far. Thus, in the United Kingdom (with a 60% vaccination rate), there were 100 outbreaks (two or more cases) of Covid-19 in schools during the month of May. It should be noted that the reopening of schools has coincided with the expansion in that country of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

For all the above and taking into account that outbreaks in children occur when they go to school and that they also have fewer receptors for the coronavirus, it is unlikely that children are a reservoir of the virus and therefore they will not infect adults.

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