The rate of COVID-19 infection among those aged 18 and under has surpassed that of adults, according to government data.
Amid the increasing number of new coronavirus infections among young people, Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae asked parents to get their children vaccinated.
The minister’s request came as concerns over children’s infections have mounted, particularly after the government allowed all schools across the country to resume full-time in-person classes this month.
Yoo on Thursday held a meeting with infectious disease experts to discuss how to control the number of infections among children.
According to Choi Eun-hwa, professor at Seoul National University College of Medicine, the COVID-19 infection rate for those aged 18 and under has increased throughout this year.
Last year, only 66.1 out of 100,000 children were infected with the coronavirus, while 130.1 per 100,000 adults reported confirmed cases.
But, the infection rate for children continued to grow this and was on a par with the infection rate for adults as of Oct. 27.
Choi said 521.2 out of every 100,000 children were infected with the coronavirus during the 10-month period, while 562.2 out of 100,000 adults were infected.
In the past four weeks, 99.7 out of 100,000 children and adolescents were infected with the coronavirus, while only 76 per 100,000 adults were infected.
The infection rate for middle school seniors and students in the first and second year of high school.
However, the infection rate for high school seniors, which was previously expected to soar after the country’s college entrance exam, was much lower than expected, at less than one-quarter of the rate for other high school years.
The low infection rate for high school seniors was mainly due to high vaccination rate in that age group, Choi said.
“The data suggests that vaccination can effectively prevent disease transmission at schools,” Choi said.
To date, 96.9 percent of high school seniors have been vaccinated, while only 1.3 percent of children aged between 12-15 have been vaccinated.
“(The government) encourages parents to have their children to be vaccinated,“ Minister Yoo said.
By Shim Woo-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org