A worrying 470 children – including 255 tots aged under five – were admitted to hospitals in England with coronavirus in the week up to Christmas Day.
A staggering 50 babies and toddlers were also admitted to hospital in one day between Christmas Eve and 8am on Christmas Day.
The shocking figures were released as part of the government’s daily coronavirus data dump and show a concerning rise in admissions in children.
The figures show 215 children aged 6 to 17 were admitted to hospital with Covid from December 18 to December 25, and 255 children under the age of five were admitted in the same period.
It appears to be the biggest weekly rise in children being admitted seen since the pandemic began.
The 470 figure for the week leading up to Christmas Day compares to 265 children admitted in the same week in November.
There were 287 children in hospital in the first week of September as children returned to the classroom after the summer break.
There is also a steady increase of admissions when compared to the week from December 17 to Christmas Eve, which saw 424 young people admitted.
This is also up from 409 admissions of children from December 16 to December 23.
Just days ago the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised against vaccinating all children under 12.
They recommended that only children who are in a clinical risk group or who are a household contact of someone immunosuppressed should be offered a primary course of vaccination.
England saw huge numbers of coronavirus cases recorded across the population in the days over Christmas.
113,628 new cases were declared on Christmas Day, 103,558 on Boxing Day and 98,515 on December 27.
The Christmas Day figure for England is the highest on record since the pandemic began – followed by 107,055 reported on December 23 and 105,069 on Christmas Eve, according to NHS England.
A UK Health Security Agency spokeswoman said: “With Covid cases rising across the population we have been clear that we can expect more cases among all age groups including children.
“The number of children in hospital who have tested positive for Covid-19 remains proportionately very low but we continue to monitor the data very closely.
“It is crucial that we all play our part to slow the spread of infection.
“We urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated without delay and to wear a mask in crowded spaces, on public transport and in shops.
“Make sure to take a lateral flow test before meeting up with friends and family. Please also wash your hands regularly and ventilate rooms well.
“If you have any Covid-19 symptoms stay at home and get a PCR test as soon as possible.”