Because it is such a vital topic, let’s just say a little more about the coronavirus vaccines. Increasingly, our children will associate with more and more adults who have gotten their shot or shots. Many researchers are trying to pin down the answers about exactly what kind of behavior is called for, in order for the increased availability of the vaccines to make a meaningful difference.
After vaccination, for both that person and the people they associate with, the most important precepts remain the same — good hand hygiene, well-fitted face covers with adequate filtering capability, and social distancing. Also, we are urged by the Centers for Disease Control to avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
In the excitement and relief of finally attaining the Big V, we still have the obligation to think of others — especially the kids. As Childhood Obesity News has so often repeated, obesity and COVID-19 exacerbate each other, and we don’t want children to experience either one.
Dr. Katherine O’Brien, Director of the World Health Organization’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, shared information with writer Vismita Gupta-Smith. The sad reality is that no one knows how long immunization lasts, and there may be no one-size-fits-all answer because it could be one of those multifactorial things. Here is the important part, for parents whose children come in contact with vaccinated adults:
What we don’t know yet from the clinical trials is whether or not the vaccines also protect people from just getting infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and whether or not it protects against transmitting to somebody else.
Children are not being vaccinated yet, because the clinical trials need to be even more exacting than for adults. So for the time being, we have to assume that children are still “at risk of both disease and infection and being able to transmit to other people.” Without going into a lot of detail, some of the places where Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding calls attention to recent child statistics are British Columbia, Denmark, Israel, Austria, Italy, and Iowa. The Iowa figures are alarming.
Back on the vaccination track
Studies are producing various numbers regarding the immunization process. The print version of the Jan./Feb. AARP Bulletin notes,
The Pfizer vaccine was shown to be only 52 percent effective 21 days after the first dose… You need both doses to get to the 95 percent effective threshold. [Y]ou should consider yourself still fully at risk until several weeks after your second dose.
Part of the problem in understanding all this, is that different studies, when they speak of effectiveness, are sometimes talking about different things. Regarding the Pfizer product, The Wall Street Journal wrote,
Pfizer’s original clinical study showed 52.4% effectiveness after one shot, but didn’t differentiate between before and after two weeks. That focused on a two-dose regime and found 95% efficacy a week after the second shot.
A single shot of the vaccine is 85% effective in preventing symptomatic disease 15 to 28 days after being administered…
A person can choose to study up on these details, and try to reach a deep understanding of all the scientific facts as they become known. But in terms of immediate usefulness, and safety for all, a person could also put some energy toward washing the hands, finding the best face covers, keeping at least a six-foot distance from others, and avoiding crowds, especially in places with insufficient air circulation.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Episode #23 — I am vaccinated, what next?,” WHO.int, 01/29/21
Source: “Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Is Highly Effective After One Dose and Can Be Stored in Normal Freezers, Data Shows,” WSJ.com, 02/19/21
Image by Pat Hartman