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Long COVID affects teenagers according to U.K. study

September 1, 2021, 4:20 PM UTC

Almost a third of teens experience coronavirus symptoms three months after diagnosis, according to a U.K. study that suggests long COVID also afflicts the young. 

The children aged 11 to 17 reported persistent symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath, according to the study led by University College London and Public Health England. The findings were published in pre-print form, meaning they weren’t peer-reviewed. 

The U.K. is one of the few countries in Europe not offering COVID vaccines to children aged between 12 and 15 and the findings probably won’t sway regulators on the matter because more research is needed, Liz Whittaker, one of the report’s authors from Imperial College London, said at a briefing. 

The scientists drew data from about 7,000 responses to a questionnaire, selecting youngsters who were tested between January and March. They compared those who tested positive to a control group that had a negative test but reported COVID-like symptoms that could be triggered by other infections. 

The U.K. only authorizes COVID vaccines for kids between 12 and 15 who have underlying health conditions such as Down syndrome, or who live with adults with compromised immune systems. France, by contrast, makes it difficult for that age group to forgo vaccination by requiring them to show proof of immunity to go to movies, restaurants and practice sports.

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