'Children are not supposed to die': CDC director gives passionate response about how children make up 400 of the 600,000 COVID-19 deaths

'Children are not supposed to die': CDC director gives passionate response about how children make up 400 of the 600,000 COVID-19 deaths
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Walenski CDC US
Rochelle Walensky, now director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), removes her mask. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
  • Approximately 400 of the 600,000 COVID deaths in the US have been children.

  • Dr. Walensky, director of the CDC, told Sen. Marshall, "Children are not supposed to die."

  • The New York Times reported the efforts of Moderna and Pfizer to expand vaccine trials for children ages five to 11.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

In a hearing for the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions last week, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had a tense exchange with Sen. Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas, about whether children should receive COVID-19 vaccines.

"It's estimated that 40 - maybe 50 - percent of children have already had the COVID virus," Marshall said, when discussing how necessary it is to vaccinate children for COVID-19. "What are the additional benefits to the vaccine to a child who's already had the virus?"

Walensky responded to Marshall saying that it may depend on the variant the child may have had and whether the child could possibly be infected or re-infected.

While the COVID-19 vaccine is currently only approved for people over the age of 12, the New York Times reported the efforts of Moderna and Pfizer to expand vaccine trials for children ages five to 11, per the Federal Drug Administration's request.

Studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children made up 14.2% of all COVID cases as of July 15. The report also stated that children comprise 0.00%-0.26% of all COVID-related deaths and, in 23 states, children make up 1.3%-3.6% of COVID-related hospitalizations.

"One thing just I want to note with the children is: I think we fall into this flawed thinking of saying that only 400 of these 600,000 deaths from COVID-19 have been in children. Children are not supposed to die, so 400 is a huge amount," said the director of the CDC.

Watch the exchange here:

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