In an alarming sign, Covid hospitalisations for children jumped 58 per cent across the US in the past week, according to the latest data by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The US is averaging 260 paediatric Covid-19 hospitalisations a day, up nearly 30 per cent within a week, showed that data from December 21-December 27.
According to CBS News, unvaccinated people of all ages are at increased risk, including children.
"We need to get child vaccinations up. We need to get them higher than they are, particularly in the 5- to 11-year-old age group," Mary T. Bassett, acting commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, was quoted as saying in the report.
An Al Jazeera report mentioned, quoting doctors, that more severe Covid-19 symptoms being seen in hospitalised children this month include difficulty breathing, high fever, and dehydration.
"They need help breathing, they need help getting oxygen, they need extra hydration. They are sick enough to end up in the hospital, and that's scary for doctors, and it's scary for parents," said Rebecca Madan, a paediatric infectious disease specialist at New York University's Langone Health hospital system.
The seven-day-average of daily hospitalisations for children between December 21 and December 27 rose more than 58 per cent, according to the CDC.
In New York City, data shows children under the age of 5 now account for almost half of the total new hospital cases.
Other parts of the US also are seeing a spike in cases among children.
"Ohio has seen a 125 percent increase in hospitalisations among children 17 and under in the past four weeks, according to data from the Ohio Hospital Association," the report said.
The severity of the Omicron variant on kids is still unclear but more cases have generally meant more hospitalisations, infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said this week.
A Financial Times report said that as Omicron-led infections surge across Europe, a drive to vaccinate children aged five to 11 against Covid-19 is dividing opinion.
"While some parents welcome the opportunity to protect their young, others are unconvinced of the benefits to their health," the report said.