Challenges of Data Access in Pediatric Health Policy Determination

Jessica Van Vechten Dr Rajeev Nagpal

One looming uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 which begs consideration is how this virus impacts society’s future — our children.

The limited data and anecdotal evidence to date suggests that the virus has a unique impact on the paediatric population. The graph represents data from 85 public health and commercial labs in the US over a 3-week period. Of approximately 1.6 million tests, less than 5% (n=65,838) were completed on children aged 0-17 (CDC.gov). There is a clear lack of testing of the paediatrics population.

While limited testing may be largely explained by preliminary reporting which has suggested that paediatrics patients are less likely to develop serious illness from the virus, another possibility which may be limiting testing is that the standard measures used to determine if testing is appropriate, i.e. fever, cough, and shortness of breath, may not be present in the paediatrics population.

In an environment where limited resources are already stretched thin, children do not fit in the high-risk category.

As the resources facilitating testing increase in the US policymakers must include reporting and analysis specific to the paediatrics population.

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