Local expert weighs in on why more young people are catching COVID-19

What's behind trend of younger people catching COVID?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The state just opened vaccine eligibility to 16 and 17 year old’s earlier this week. Local health officials said it’s a good time, because that age group is catching COVID-19 more than other age groups right now.

“They may not be as likely as an adult to get a really bad clinical course from it,” Children’s of Alabama infectious disease expert Dr. David Kimberlin said. “But, tell that to the ones who got that really bad clinical course. For them, it was awful and in some of the cases didn’t make it.”

Infectious disease expert Dr. David Kimberlin said the younger surge is likely because the older age groups, 80′s-50′s, have already gotten vaccinated.

“Their numbers continue to decrease, so that is really good news. That’s a testimony of what the vaccine can do,” he said.

Dr. Kimberlin said all ages are still catching COVID-19, but it’s really popping up in teenagers to early 20′s. But, he said the virus is not gone and anyone can still catch it.

“We are seeing it in younger children too,” Kimberlin said. “But, I think where cases are rising the most is more in the population that is more mobile, that can drive. Some of the decisions that the young adults and older adolescents are making are probably not the decisions that somebody my age would want them to make.”

Dr. Kimberlin said as cases in younger age ranges continue to grow, it’s important to get them vaccinated. Right now, only those older than 16 can take the Pfizer vaccine. All three vaccines are approved for 18 year old’s and up.

“It is as safe and as effective in a 16 and 17 year old as it is in a 20, 25, 30, and 55 year old,” Kimberlin said.

Dr. Kimberlin predicts the vaccines will be found safe for younger children too. He said we will likely see that information come out within the next few months.

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