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 about the COVID-19 vaccines, the importance of viral load, an educational (and nostalgic) music video, and more.
- The CDC reports that 4.2 million Americans have received the COVID-19 vaccine through January 2nd
- Governor Kemp and DPH Director Toomey announced that Georgia will add adults aged 65 and older, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders to the current group of individuals eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Expanded administration of the vaccines is expected to begin within the next two weeks, provided adequate vaccine supply is available.
- The U.K. has approved the emergency use of a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. At $3-4 per dose, it is significantly less expensive than other COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, this vaccine is stable at normal refrigerator temperatures, making it easier to ship and store. Operation Warp Speed’s chief science adviser expects this vaccine to receive emergency use authorization in the U.S. by early April.
- As of this morning, all of the doctors at PPP have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. We are also in the process of scheduling appointments for staff members and several have already received their first dose.
U.K. Variant of COVID-19 Causes More Infections in Children
A new strain of the COVID-19 virus was first detected in the U.K. in the fall and has quickly spread. The Imperial College of London reports that “data indicates a shift in the age composition of reported cases, with a larger share of under 20-year olds among reported…cases”
The NY Times writes that this variant “appears to be between 10 percent and 60 percent more transmissible than the original version. One possible reason: It may increase the amount of the virus that infected people carry in their noses and throats, which in turn would raise the likelihood that they infect others through breathing, talking, sneezing, coughing and so on.”
While this variant does not seem to cause more severe illness, it will likely result in more hospitalizations and deaths as more people become infected.
Children More Likely to Catch Virus at Social Gatherings Than School/Daycare
The AP reports on a study showing “children are more at risk of contracting the coronavirus at a social gathering than in a classroom or childcare setting.”
“The study found that compared with children who tested negative, those who tested positive were more likely to have attended gatherings and have had visitors at home. Additionally, parents or guardians of children who were infected were less likely to report wearing masks at those gatherings.
“‘Household contacts versus a contact at school appeared to be more important in a child’s risk for being infected’”, said the study’s lead author.
I’m a Vaccine
In the spirit of “I’m Just a Bill” from Schoolhouse Rock, this video from Johns Hopkins shows how the COVID-19 vaccine was developed.
The Importance of Viral Load
The NY Times reports on numerous studies showing that the amount of virus in a person’s body (viral load) can predict the severity of illness.
If those with a higher viral load are more likely to become seriously ill or die, more intensive monitoring and treatment can be started as soon as the high viral load is identified.
Parents Indicate Vaccination is the Measure Most Needed to Open Schools Safely
US News reports the results of a survey asking parents what they believe is needed to reopen schools safely.
More than half of the parents said that a vaccine would be necessary for them to feel as though their children could return to school safely.
In the same survey, more than 40% of parents cited these measures for safe return:
- Schools require students and staff who may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 stay home for 14 days before returning to school
- Schools limit the number of students who are in common areas to maintain social distancing
- No new cases of COVID-19 are reported in their local area
Since vaccine approval for children less than 16 years old is many months away, PPP recommends parents get vaccinated as soon as possible to decrease the risk of bringing the virus home.
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.