Parents of Peachtree Park Pediatrics,
We continually strive to provide you with the most up to date information on the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on for more on the COVID-19 vaccines, keeping college kids safe, the prevalence of the new, more-contagious coronavirus variant, and more.
- Early-stage trials of Johnson & Johnson’s experimental coronavirus vaccine show it generated an immune response in nearly all volunteers, with minimal side-effects, after a single dose. If this vaccine proves to be effective with one dose it will greatly simplify the logistics of immunizing a large population.
- USA Today reports that “not enough adolescents are signing up for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trial, potentially delaying vaccine authorization for this age group.”
- The 2nd dose of vaccine should be given 3 weeks later for the Pfizer vaccine and 4 weeks for the Moderna product. The CDC recently confirmed that “there is no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine.” If the 2nd dose falls outside the specified time frame the vaccine series does not need to be restarted.
- A study from Israel indicates that people who received the Pfizer vaccine develop an immune response significantly stronger than COVID-19 survivors. In addition to preventing disease, these high antibody levels may reduce asymptomatic infection and spread.
- Some experts worry that “we’re underselling the vaccine,” by pointing out it may be less than 100% effective and that vaccinated individuals may still spread the virus. “It’s going to save your life — that’s where the emphasis has to be right now” said one Infectious Diseases physician. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are “essentially 100 percent effective against serious disease,” said Dr. Paul Offit. “It’s ridiculously encouraging.”
More Contagious Strain Becoming Prevalent
The NY Times reports that the “CDC warns the new virus variant could fuel huge spikes in COVID-19 cases.
“[This] far more contagious variant of the coronavirus first identified in Britain could become the dominant source of infection in the United States by March and would likely lead to a surge in cases and deaths.
Public health officials emphasized that protective measures already in place should work against the new variant and urged Americans to redouble their vigilance in wearing face masks, in maintaining physical distance outside their households, washing hands frequently and limiting social interactions and indoor gatherings.”
Fortunately, recent research from Public Health England showed that young children were about half as likely as adults to transmit this variant to others. This report also estimated that the new variant is about 30 percent to 50 percent more contagious than its predecessors.
Surgeon General Addresses Vaccine Concerns in Black Community
The Augusta Chronicle reports on Surgeon General Jerome Adams addressing the need for communities of color to vaccinate against COVID-19.
“The vaccine wasn’t created using COVID-19 and doesn’t give people the virus. It was tested in trials including all manner of adults.
‘We want people to understand that individuals who look like them and talk like them were involved in these trials”
Are Two Mask Better Than One?
CBS News reports that wearing two masks may provide added protection.
Wearing a surgical mask with a cloth mask over it provides an extra layer of protection by increased filtration of viral particles.
Remember, a mask is only effective if your child will wear it correctly and consistently. Focus on finding a mask that covers the nose and mouth and is comfortable.
A large, national survey tracking behavior during the pandemic recently reported that mask wearing has reached an all-time high of 80%.
The survey also showed decreasing percentages of people who report having gone to work, the gym or a restaurant or spent time in crowded places or a room with people outside their household in the previous 24-hour period.
However, researchers warn that mask-wearing and social distancing behaviors need to continue improving to counteract the recent sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.
Keeping College Students Safe
A recent computer modelling study showed that a combination of mask use, social distancing and routine testing would eliminate nearly all COVID-19 infections on U.S. college campuses.
The model predicts that with no prevention, about three-quarters of students and nearly one in six faculty members would become infected over the course of a semester.
“Closing the campus and switching to online-only education would reduce infections by 63% among students, but that would be less effective than keeping the campus open and having a combined mask-wearing and social distancing policy, which would reduce infections by 87% among students.”
Continue Mask Wearing After Vaccination
Kaiser Health New details 5 reasons to continue wearing a mask after receiving the vaccine.
This is recommended because:
- No vaccine is 100% effective
- Vaccines don’t provide immediate protection
- COVID vaccines may not prevent you from spreading the virus
- Masks protect people with compromised immune systems
- Masks protect against any strain of the coronavirus, in spite of genetic mutations
More ER Visits for Kids’ Injuries During the Pandemic
When the coronavirus pandemic began, one U.S. children’s hospital saw an increase in trauma cases from recreational and outdoor activities, even as total ER visits dropped by 50%, reports HealthDay.
This study “suggests that being in lockdown, with schools closed, may have prompted more kids to go outside and play — and potentially get injured doing so.” Decreased supervision with parents working from home may also have played a role.
Remind your kids to wear their helmets and take other safety precautions when playing.
Antigen Test Accurate in Symptomatic Individuals
Reuters reports about a CDC study of the Abbott rapid antigen detection test.
“Abbott Laboratories’ rapid COVID-19 antigen test is highly likely to correctly detect if people have ever contracted the virus and could help with earlier isolation.
The test was less sensitive in detecting asymptomatic infection, but the CDC study found that the faster turnaround time can help limit transmission by more rapidly identifying infectious persons for isolation.”
PPP uses an antigen test on symptomatic patients in the office with results in 15 minutes. We also have a limited number of PCR swabs that can be used on asymptomatic patients and sent to the lab with results typically available in a few days.
We encourage everyone to continue to use good hand hygiene and practice social distancing as much as possible. Please contact our office with any further questions or concerns.
Peachtree Park Pediatrics
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Peachtree Park Pediatrics strives to deliver up-to-date primary care to our infant, child, and young adult patients in a welcoming and family-friendly environment. The practice has deep roots in the Atlanta community, and it is our continued honor to be entrusted with the health care of our next generation.