By Brooke Katz

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As the COVID-19 omicron variant surges, the rate of hospitalizations for children ages four and younger is now at more than four in 100,000.

That’s the highest level seen so far.

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According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Data Tracker, as of Wednesday, Jan. 5, the seven-day average number of children under 17 admitted to hospitals in the United States was 797 per day. The prior seven days, that average was 441.

“Don’t have regrets here. Get your children immunized,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, The Chief of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Health. “It’s a safe and effective vaccine, it works and it can prevent a lot of suffering.”

According to data from the CDC, the rate of COVID-associated hospitalizations in unvaccinated children ages 12 to 17 was about 11 times higher than those who were fully vaccinated in the same age range.

While the numbers are increasing, experts point out that not every child in the hospital with COVID-19 is there because of COVID.

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Screen is catching mild and asymptomatic cases as kids are being treated for other illnesses. CDC officials acknowledged the numbers don’t necessarily mean Omicron is more severe in children.

“This very well may be the fact that there are just more cases out there and that our children are more vulnerable when we see that they have more cases surrounding them,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the Director for the CDC, said during a telebriefing on Friday, Jan. 7.

Pfizer is working on a vaccine for children under the age of five.

Last month the company said that if the trials are successful, it plans to submit for an Emergency Use Authorization sometime during the first half of this year.

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