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 news regarding the COVID vaccine for children, booster doses, COVID vs the flu, and more.
COVID Vaccine in Children 5-11
“Pfizer said recently that its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon.” See – AP News: Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11
“For elementary school-aged kids, Pfizer tested a much lower dose — a third of the amount that’s in each shot given now. Yet after their second dose, children ages 5 to 11 developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults getting the regular-strength shots. The kid dosage also proved safe, with similar or fewer temporary side effects — such as sore arms, fever or achiness — that teens experience.’
“Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb predicted recently that the agency he helmed will authorize Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in children ages 5 to 11 by the end of October.” See – CBS News: Gottlieb says vaccines could be approved for kids 5-11 by end of October
Once the FDA, CDC and AAP authorize use in children under 12, we will begin offering vaccine to that age group.
COVID Vaccine Booster Doses
“An FDA advisory panel recommended emergency use authorization (EUA) of a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 65 and older, and those judged to be at high risk of severe COVID-19.” See – MedPage Today: FDA Panel Backs Pfizer Booster for Select Groups
This recommendation has not yet been endorsed by the FDA or the CDC and only applies to individuals 16 and older.
A press release from J & J details their data on booster (2nd) doses of their COVID-19 vaccine.
A booster shot 2 months after the initial dose provided 94% protection against moderate to severe disease.
Currently, PPP only offers the Pfizer vaccine. We will not give any COVID-19 booster doses at PPP until there is approval from the FDA, CDC and AAP.
Comparing COVID-19 and Flu
In a recent study, as reported by the AAP, children and adolescents with COVID-19 were compared to those with Influenza in recent years.
“Hospitalization rates were between 5 to 13 times higher among those children and adolescents diagnosed with COVID-19 versus those with seasonal influenza in previous years.
Thirty-day outcomes including pneumonia and hypoxemia (low blood oxygen level) were more frequent in COVID-19 than influenza.”
The AP reports that “COVID-19 has now killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic did — approximately 675,000.”
Up to 60,000 Americans die annually from seasonal Flu; 11 times that number have died from COVID in less than 2 years.
COVID can be a serious, life-threatening illness for all ages. There is a safe and effective vaccine which drastically reduces the risk of hospitalization or death. Everyone should get the COVID-19 vaccine AND an annual Flu vaccine.
Getting Flu and COVID Vaccine at the Same Time
Both the CDC and the AAP say it is safe for children and adults to get both COVID-19 and Flu vaccines at the same time.
We are happy to give both vaccines during office visits; however, we are not able to administer the COVID vaccine during Flu clinic visits.
School-aged Children Leading Latest COVID Surge
Georgia Health News reports that Georgia Public Health officials stated “about 60 percent of current COVID outbreaks in Georgia are occurring in K-12 schools across the state.”
“That’s seven times more than the child outbreaks in previous virus surges”, said the state epidemiologist. “Cases, hospitalizations and deaths among children have reached their highest levels during the current surge of the pandemic, she added. And many of the infections are hitting 12- to 18-year-olds, who are eligible for vaccinations.”
Increase in Child Obesity During the Pandemic
“A new CDC study ties the COVID-19 pandemic to an ‘alarming’ increase in obesity in U.S. children and teenagers.” See – AP News: Study: Childhood obesity in U.S. accelerated during pandemic
“Childhood obesity has been increasing for decades, but the new work suggests an acceleration last year — especially in those who already were obese when the pandemic started.”
The study raised concerns about weight gain in all children, finding that “before the pandemic, children who were a healthy weight were gaining an average of 3.4 pounds a year. That rose to 5.4 pounds during the pandemic.”
Families should focus on returning to pre-pandemic routines of healthy eating and daily activity.
Increasing Screen Time During the Pandemic Leads to Increased Vision Problems
“In addition, children who developed near-sightedness, or myopia, during the pandemic, did so to a greater extent than those diagnosed with the vision condition in 2019, the year before the discovery of the coronavirus.
Researchers earlier this year found similar increases in the condition among children in the United States, suggesting the effects of increased screen time among children are not limited to a few regions of the world.”
There is evidence that playing outside in natural light can help counteract the impact of screen time on vision, reinforcing the recommendation for children to be outside in free play daily.
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.