Vaccines, Transmission, and Youth

For an unconscionably long time, plenty of people were in denial about COVID-19, and apparently, some still are. But eventually, word started to get around. Yes, adults who appear to be fit and healthy can contract the disease, and even children can get it. A hefty proportion of people suffer from “Long COVID” at this moment, and some of them are children and teens. Young people can definitely transmit the virus. To pretend otherwise is to assert that if swimmers pee in the pool, only the adult urine is unhygienic, which is just silly.

While fully vaccinated people can still have asymptomatic infections, and transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others, they are a lot less likely to do so than the unvaccinated population. All the thought leaders in the field, like Dr. Larry Brilliant, have affirmed that the Delta variant jumps from one person to another much more efficiently than the original brands of COVID-19. It is, in other words, fiercely contagious.

In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that mask mandates should not be lifted, which was announced on Valentine’s Day as a reminder of how we could show our love for humanity in general by continuing to be cautious about spreading the disease. The CDC said,

Continued adherence to social distancing and face coverings remains especially urgent given the risks posed by new coronavirus variants found to be more transmissible, and possibly more resistant to antibodies, than the original strain.

Early in April, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association announced that “more than 3.5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, representing 13.5% of all of the nation’s diagnosed infections.” That’s a lot of sick kids, considering that as of that date so many Americans still clung to the belief that children can neither catch nor transmit COVID.

At that point in time, the AAP recommended that anybody 16 years of age or older should be vaccinated, and went on to say,

Once approved, vaccine distribution and access should be supported for all children and adolescents, with particular attention to those disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

By then, both Pfizer and Moderna had started testing their product on children from six months to 12 years old, and Johnson & Johnson was testing its version on adolescents starting at 12. Particular attention was being paid to the potential impact of childhood obesity on children’s vaccine responsiveness.

The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico had cautiously reopened 100 of its 858 schools, with very minimalist hours (two days a week, morning only) and a limited student body (grades K through 3, plus high school seniors). In April, after only a month of revival, this truncated schedule was suspended again for at least two weeks.

(To be continued…)

Source: “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People,”, 05/28/21
Source: “CDC chief warns it’s too soon in U.S. to lift COVID-19 mask mandates,”, 02/14/21
Source: “COVID-19 vaccines in children: Research to guide your news coverage,” 04/12/21
Source: “Puerto Rico will close schools amid Covid surge,”, 04/09/21
Image by Jernej Furman/CC BY 2.0

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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