• Original Articles By Dr. Lavin Featuring Expert Advice & Information about Pediatric Health Issues that you Care the Most About

    COVID Update: December 31, 2021: Great News on Childhood COVID Vaccine – Our Best Hope, Time for All Parents to Protect!

    By Dr. Arthur Lavin


    • Virus– a type of germ that consists solely of a bit of genetic material (DNA or RNA) wrapped in a protein coat.  The coat gets the genes into the target cell where the genes force the cell to make zillions of new viruses (genes and protein coat), and on it goes.
    • Variant- also known as a mutation, a variant strain of a virus is the same species of virus but with a change in the genetic code.  The change is minor if it has no impact on contagious the new variant is, or how deadly it is, or if it allows the virus to neutralize our vaccines. Variants that substantially increase harm are now listed by Greek letters, the most troublesome one now is Omicron.
    • Coronavirus– a species name of a number of different viruses.  Called corona because its protein coat is studded with spike shapes that form a crown, halo, or corona of spikes
    • SARS-CoV-2– the specific name of the new coronavirus
    • COVID-19-the name of the illness that the new coronavirus is causing
    • Endemic– an illness always present in a region.  One could say strep throat is endemic in the US
    • Epidemic– a sudden burst of an illness that comes and goes over a limited time
    • Pandemic– an epidemic that bursts across the world not just one region
    • Spreadability– how contagious is the disease, how many people will end up infected
    • Symptoms- the experience of being ill, for example- fever, cough, headaches, loss of smell etc.
    • Asymptomatic– literally means “without symptoms”.  For COVID-19 it refers a person infected with the virus but has no and will have not symptoms
    • Presymptomatic– This is a person who was infected with SARS-CoV-2, and will feel sick, but hasn’t yet
    • Severity– what harm does the disease cause, in terms of  how sick you get and how many it will kill
    • Mask- a mask is a loose-fitting cloth or textile that covers the mouth and nose loosely.  A surgical mask is a mask used in surgery
    • Respirator-  for the purposes of the COVID-19 pandemic and other respiratory illnesses, a respirator is a mask that fits very snugly or tightly to the user’s face.  An N95 mask is a respirator.
    • PCR Test–  swabs the nose to detect the genes of the COVID virus.  The genes if detected are almost certainly there, but they can persist long after contagion ends.  Very few false positives, positives can be trusted.
    • Antigen Test (the home kit)- swabs the nose to detect the proteins on the coating of the COVID virus, the spike proteins.  If it does not detect those proteins, you are almost certainly not infected, negatives can be trusted.  These proteins are also on the coating of many common cold viruses, so one positive test may indicate you have a cold rather than COVID.  Two positive home tests though reliably indicate you have COVID.
    • Vaccine Terms
    • Vaccine or Immunization– a dose of a substance that activates your immune system, as if you have the actual infection you are hoping to prevent, leaving you in fact protected from having that infection.
    • Efficacy– the percentage of people immunized with a particular vaccine who will not get infected if exposed to the target infection.  For example, a COVID-19 vaccine will be said to be 95% effective if 95% of people immunized with that particular COVID-19 vaccine will not get COVID-19 if exposed to COVID-19
    • mRNA– DNA works by dictating exactly which proteins your cell will make.  The message on how to construct each protein is delivered to the cell machinery that makes proteins by a piece of genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA
    • mRNA vaccine– an mRNA vaccine places a small bit of mRNA code that makes your cells make a protein that is the protein from a virus that alerts your immune system and activates it to make protections against you being infected
    • Viral vector vaccine– a viral vector vaccine takes a harmless virus that is known to infect people reliably and places that weakened virus in a person where that virus will in fact infect the person.  The virus is not only weakened, but also attached to a set of genes  that makes your cells make a protein that is the protein from a virus that alerts your immune system and activates it to make protections against you being infected.

    Great News on Childhood COVID Vaccine:
    Our Best Hope, Time for All Parents to Protect!

    The COVID Vaccine is Extraordinarily SAFE FOR KIDS

    An actual study of how kids do after getting a COVID vaccine was released this week, looking at actually happens if your child gets a COVID vaccine, by looking at what actually happened to 8 million children who got the Pfizer COVID vaccine.

    Here is what they found, and it is amazing and powerful:

    • Actual real problems were very, very, very rare.
    • A good way to put this finding is that the COVID vaccine is very, very, really extraordinarily SAFE.
    • The worry about possible inflammation of the heart following COVID vaccine turns out to be dramatically overblown.  Out of the 8 million doses given, there were only 11 verified instances of this inflammation, and in all 11 situations the inflammation was mild, there were no serious outcomes here.

    The Door Opens to Children Getting the Pfizer Booster

    The FDA is authorizing the Pfizer booster this Monday, here are the details:

    • If the FDA authorizes Monday, the CDC will meet next week and is expected to recommend it to happen.
    • Once the CDC recommends, our office can immediately begin giving the booster to children at these ages and intervals:
      • All children 12-15 years old whose 2nd dose was at least 5 months prior to the booster
      • All children 5-11 years old with immunodeficiency whose 2nd dose was at least 5 months prior to the booster.

    Once this door opens, every person ages 12 years old and older should act NOW to complete their 3 dose COVID vaccine series.  And for all our children ages 5-11, with any immunodeficiency, the same urgent need will be here next week, to get the full 3 dose immunization schedule.

    Time for Parents to Protect

    This message is so urgent.  All our children, like all of us adults, face the full wrath of COVID if not immunized.

    Right now, essentially the only children in the ICU because of COVID are unimmunized AND old enough (>5) to be immunized.

    As our last post demonstrated, truly thankfully, not a large proportion of children end up severely ill from COVID, but there are too many children truly suffering harm from COVID and essentially all are suffering because an adult decided to deny them the protection of the COVID vaccine series.

    Now that we have solid proof that giving your child ages 5 and up the COVID vaccine is extraordinarily safe, and now that the door is opening to our children being able to get all 3 of necessary COVID vaccine doses, the future of all our children ages 5 and up rests squarely in the hands of their parents.

    Tragically, across the United States, as of today, 85% of parents have decided to place their 5-11 year old children at risk for COVID rather than protect them by providing a very safe vaccine.  Only about 15% of 5-11 year have had even the first 2 doses of COVID vaccine.

    For the 85% of parents of 5-11 year olds, I hope this moment everyone can pause, consider that the COVID vaccine is as safe or safer than the tetanus shot, and protects your child from a danger that is clear and present, a much greater threat than tetanus or other diseases over 90% of children are immunized against.

    Bottom Lines

    1. Great news: 8 million children have given us solid, concrete PROOF that getting the Pfizer COVID vaccine for children is extraordinarily safe.  Very, very, very safe.
    2. We fully expect next week the US will authorize and recommend that everyone ages 12 and up get all 3 of their Pfizer vaccines, and that all 5-11 year olds with any autoimmunity will too.
    3. With Omicron exploding around the world and certainly here in our Cleveland neighborhoods, it is URGENT that every parent of every child 5-11 year olds secure those first two doses of COVID vaccine for them NOW.  And that all people ages 12 years old and up get all 3 of their COVID vaccines NOW.

    We end 2021 in tragedy, with our losses reaching 817,000 deaths.  The first 350,000 deaths in 2020 were from a failure to identify and isolate the infected.  The next 467,000 deaths this year were from a determined act of not vaccinating.   Tomorrow we celebrate the New Year of 2022 beginning.  Let us make this a Happy and Healthy New Year by making sure all our children ages 5 and up, and later in the year 6 months and up, deserve the full vaccination series for COVID, and that all of us the adults of America get their COVID vaccine too, and stop this catastrophic loss of life finally!

    My One Takeaway Sentence:

    The Omicron COVID explosion is now, the virus is everywhere, only the vaccine can provide real safety; and now that the COVID vaccine is KNOWN to be extraordinarily safe, it is the responsibility of every parent to give their children ages 5 and up the protection from this dread disease they deserve- a full COVID vaccine series.

    To that Happy and Healthy New Year we all desire,
    Dr. Arthur Lavin



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