By Dr. Eric Levene
As the August heat flares, so does COVID, especially the Delta variant. We are hearing of hospitals and communities in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama filling up with COVID cases. These are especially severe in states with low vaccination rates and no mask mandates. Other states are slowly seeing increasing cases as well. These states are facing realities that our New York area faced at the beginning of the pandemic. We know how hard it was for our first responders, healthcare workers, and all the essential people who kept our hospitals functioning.
What is upsetting to hear is that the Delta variant is affecting children more than previous variants. More kids are being hospitalized and children’s hospitals are being filled at an alarming rate.
What can we do? The answer is very simple. If you are eligible for the vaccine, waste no time and go get vaccinated if you haven’t already. If your child is over 12 years of age, get them vaccinated.
Over half a billion vaccines have been given worldwide without any serious side effects. If you are concerned about “long-term side effects” of the vaccine, remember any long-term problems with any vaccine are almost always seen 6-8 weeks after administration. That time frame has passed for 100s of millions of people, and nothing has been seen. Some parents are concerned about the “heart issues” post the second mRNA vaccine in males 15-30 years old. Well, the number is very small, much smaller than those patients who develop heart issues after getting the illness. And there are no fertility issues secondary to the vaccine. We do know that some women have temporary minor changes to their menstrual cycles, as any stressor might do. And yes, it is very temporary. But, what we don’t know is the long-term effects of getting COVID. Remember it is a disease that can affect the brain – hence the loss of smell and taste. What else is it doing? Only time will tell.
We know that even if you are vaccinated, you can get the Delta variant. The symptoms can be as mild as just a headache or a sniffle or no symptoms at all. We also know that you can spread the Delta variant even if you have been vaccinated. This is very different than previous variants. Please, if you have any symptoms get tested. If you are positive, isolate and quarantine contacts. Call your trusted pediatrician and we can arrange safe testing for your kids and discuss when and if your child needs to seek care. Vaccinations greatly reduce the need for hospitalization, serious illness, and death.
Right now, kids under 12 years cannot get vaccinated. WE NEED TO PROTECT these kids. These children should be masked in any indoor environment. If you live with a child over 2 and under 12, set an example and wear your mask even if you are vaccinated. If your school district has not yet announced a mask mandate, call, email, or text your school board members. This is a community issue, not a personal choice. The one life you save may be your child. If you potentially save one life, you potentially save the world.
Allied Physicians Group is a partnership of more than 150 dedicated, caring physicians and 350 highly trained support staff. Allied serves over 180,000 patients with offices throughout Greater New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and beyond. Founded in 2006, Allied Physicians Group is a recognized leader in increasing healthcare efficiencies and patient satisfaction, emphasizing support, innovation, and collaboration. If you are looking for a Pediatrician near you click here or for more information please visit https://alliedphysiciansgroup.com/.