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 distribution and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, updated statistics on asymptomatic spreading of the virus, the AAP’s recommendations on returning to school, and more.
How Effective are the Vaccines?
Governor Kemp announced that the vaccine will become available this week to first responders and people 65 years of age and older. As availability of the vaccine increases and more people become immunized, it is important to review the vaccine’s effectiveness.
- In combination, the trials for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines involved more than 70,000 people. Those who received the vaccine were 95% less likely to get sick with COVID-19 than those who got the placebo.
- The vaccines did an even better job of preventing significant illness as none of the vaccine recipients had a severe case of COVID-19.
- The vaccine provides some protection after the first dose, but reaches maximal effectiveness approximately one week following the 2nd dose.
- Just like with the annual Flu vaccine, getting immunized will not prevent all cases of COVID-19, but will significantly reduce the risk of severe illness and lower the risk of spreading the disease to others if infected.
- The CDC reports that, as of January 7th, over 21 million doses of the COVID vaccine have been distributed nationwide and almost 6 million people have received their first shot.
- USA Today reports that HHS Secretary Azar “urged governors to get COVID-19 vaccines into as many people as possible as quickly as possible, and not let ‘perfection be the enemy of the good.’ With as much as 70% of distributed vaccines still sitting on pharmacy shelves, Azar said the focus should shift to vaccinating more people rather than on precisely who is getting the shots.”
- The Moderna vaccine may provide long-lasting protection. “The antibody decay generated by the vaccine in humans goes down very slowly…We believe there will be protection potentially for a couple of years” said company CEO Stéphane Bancel.
- Moderna also announced that it is increasing its minimum production of vaccine in 2021 to 600 million doses worldwide and hopes to make as many as 1 billion shots.
- Anthony Fauci recently predicted that the U.S. will soon be able to give 1 million or more COVID shots per day. He called President-elect Joe Biden’s goal of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days “a very realistic, important, achievable goal.”
- In the next few weeks, pharmacies will begin giving the COVID vaccine. Operation Warp Speed estimates that 3,000 to 6,000 pharmacies could begin administering the shots soon and more than 40,000 pharmacies will eventually be involved in the vaccination effort.
- What does the mRNA COVID 19 Vaccine NOT do?
- Does not contain live or attenuated (weakened) virus particles. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
- Is not produced using human cells, fetal cells, animal cells, or eggs.
- Does not contain preservatives.
- Does not go into the cell nucleus, so it does not alter or affect your DNA.
- Has not been linked to infertility or miscarriage.
- Does not mean that we can abandon the 3 “W”s: wash your hands, watch your distance between yourself and others, and wear a mask. The purpose of the vaccine is to keep you from getting sick, reduce the length or severity of illness, and make you less likely to transmit the virus to others. You can still be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms that could make others sick.
- The CDC reports that early safety monitoring has detected 21 cases of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, after people received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. This occurred in 11 cases per 1 million persons vaccinated, roughly 10 times as common as anaphylaxis from the Flu vaccine. The rate of anaphylaxis in the COVID-19 vaccine is still considered a rare outcome. “We all would hope that any vaccine would have zero adverse events, but even at 11 cases per million doses administered – it’s a very safe vaccine,” said the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Asymptomatic Spread Accounts for Majority of Infections
The Washington Post reports that “people with no symptoms transmit more than half of all cases of the novel coronavirus, according to a model developed by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
“Fifty-nine percent of all transmission came from people without symptoms, under the model’s baseline scenario. That includes 35 percent of new cases from people who infect others before they show symptoms and 24 percent that come from people who never develop symptoms at all.
[The study’s] findings reinforce the importance of following the agency’s guidelines: Regardless of whether you feel ill, wear a mask, wash your hands, stay socially distant and get a coronavirus test.”
Remind your children that they shouldn’t merely avoid people who look or act sick. They should observe universal precautions with everyone.
COVID-19 is Third Leading Cause of Death
CNN reports that CDC statisticians expect COVID-19 to be the third leading cause of death in the U.S. for 2020, trailing only heart disease and cancer.
AAP Recommends Kids Attend School in Person if it Can be Done Safely
HealthDay reports that the AAP has reaffirmed its recommendations on children and school during the pandemic.
“New information tells us that opening schools does not significantly increase community transmission of the virus. However, it is critical for schools to closely follow guidance provided by public health officials,” said Dr. Lee Beers, new president of the AAP.
“Children absolutely need to return to in-school learning for their healthy development and well-being, and so safety in schools and in the community must be a priority. We need governments at the state and federal levels to prioritize funding the needed safety accommodations, such as improving ventilation systems and providing personal protective equipment for teachers and staff.”
Loss of Taste and Smell May be More Common in Mild Cases
CNN reports on a European study which showed 86% of people with mild disease lost their sense of taste or smell.
In contrast, less than 10% of those with moderate to severe disease lost their ability to smell or taste.
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.