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 the latest updates on vaccinations for children under 12, minimizing risk on campus, the reliability of at-home COVID testing, and more.
Children Under 12 Should Not be Vaccinated Yet
The FDA recently “urged parents not to seek out the shots for children who are under 12, and therefore not yet eligible for vaccination.”
“Children are not small adults — and issues that may be addressed in pediatric vaccine trials can include whether there is a need for different doses or different strength formulations of vaccines already used for adults,” said FDA officials.
The Hill reports that “Pfizer announced this week that it will soon seek approval from global regulators for use of its coronavirus vaccine in children ages 5 and over.”
At PPP, we will not give the COVID vaccine to children prior to their 12th birthday until it is approved for younger ages. In addition, we will not give booster doses of the vaccine until the FDA and CDC provide guidance on who should receive boosters and the timing after completing the primary vaccine series.
Delta Causes Increased Pediatric Cases, Not Severity
Two recent CDC studies “found COVID-19 cases in children and adolescents have been increasing in number but not severity since the delta variant became predominant.”
The studies “also showed adolescent COVID-19 hospitalization rates are highest among those who are not vaccinated and in communities with low vaccine coverage.
‘What is clear from these data is community level vaccination coverage protects our children,’ CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, said. ‘As the number of COVID-19 cases increase in the community, the number of children getting sick, presenting to the emergency room and being admitted to the hospital will also increase.’”
A report from the AAP also details that “after declining in early summer, child cases have increased exponentially with nearly 500,000 cases in the past two weeks.”
“The group reported 243,373 new cases among kids over the past week. While this is a decline from last week, when 251,781 cases were reported, it’s about a 240% increase since early July, when kids accounted for 71,726 cases.”
Minimizing COVID Risk on Campus
The Washington Post details steps college student can take to reduce their risk of getting sick while at school.
“One health expert said that while no public health precaution is 100 percent effective, layering them offers a solid defense against COVID-19. In addition to vaccination, the American College Health Association recommends masking, social distancing and frequent handwashing, taking special care to avoid potentially contaminated surfaces once hands are clean. And when outdoor activities are not feasible, students should seek out spaces indoors that are well-ventilated — opening windows, turning on fans or, for those who can afford it, using air purifiers with HEPA filters. The American College Health Association has also recommended that colleges and universities conduct regular coronavirus testing for all students, faculty and staff members to help detect the virus before it starts to spread.”
Are COVID Tests Done at Home Reliable?
Kaiser Health News reports about the availability and accuracy of rapid COVID tests that can be done at home.
This article discusses the differences between PCR, Antigen and Antibody tests:
PCR tests look for the generic material (RNA) of the COVID virus. They may be positive when even a small amount of the virus is present (such as in a vaccinated individual who has successfully fought off an infection with minimal or no symptoms). PCR tests can be used for people with or without symptoms. The major downside of most PCR tests is that they must be performed in a laboratory, delaying the results for 24 hours or more.
Antigen tests look for a protein found in the COVID virus. The accuracy of antigen test varies considerably. In general, they are better for accurately detecting COVID in people with symptoms than in those without symptoms. If negative, a PCR test may still be required to be certain that the individual does not have COVID. Results of antigen tests are typically available with 15-30 minutes.
Antibody tests measure the body’s response to the virus and can indicate a past infection. Unlike PCR and antigen tests which use swabs of the nose, antibody tests require drawing blood. A positive antibody test does not indicate that a person is safe from becoming infected with COVID.
Some at-home COVID tests are PCR where you collect the sample yourself and send it to the lab by mail, with the results available in 24 hours or more. Other at-home tests are antigen where you collect the sample AND run the test at home, producing a result in 15-30 minutes. The reliability of antigen tests done at home varies.
At PPP we use an antigen test which is accurate and reliable. When the results are available in 15-20 minutes, we discuss how to interpret the test and provide any necessary forms for daycare or school. We do not test asymptomatic patients in the office.
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
For reliable, up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit:
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.