For parents of unvaccinated children, the Delta option raises questions


New data on the ability of the Delta variant to infect and spread even among fully vaccinated have been particularly alarming for parents of young children who are still not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Many parents who thought their children faced limited risks of coronavirus infection are now overestimating their position. Health experts have said parents should be especially careful with a highly contagious option that causes an outbreak of infection in Los Angeles County and many other parts of the country.

But some also stressed the importance of keeping risks in context, adding that children can still return to school with proper precautions.

“Kids have to go to school,” said Julie Swan, a health system engineer at North Carolina State University. “Those of us who survived last year, we know that.”

Dr Catherine Williamson, a pediatrician from Orange County, said there had been an increase in coronavirus cases among young patients in recent weeks, as well as an increase in parents receiving vaccinations. Delta option.

“Parents need to make sure they do their best to keep their children safe when their family has an unvaccinated child,” Williamson said.

However, the risk of serious illness remains low for those vaccinated against COVID-19, and the rates of infection, hospitalization, and death are much higher for those who have not been vaccinated.

With the right recommendations and an increase in vaccinations among those eligible, Williamson said, it is still possible to protect young people.

“The kids are just as safe as they are nearby,” she said.

Although the Delta variant was already more common than the original coronavirus, a new outbreak report of 469 people in Massachusetts found that 74% of the infections were among people who had been fully vaccinated. A confidential report prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has gathered other unpleasant signs that the option is spreading more easily to vaccinated people than previously thought.

Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and those aged 12 to 17 are still lagging behind when it comes to vaccination.

The rise of the Delta option has caused a number of changes in recent weeks – from new requirements to testing and vaccination for federal, city and government employees to a revival of previously repealed mask recommendations.

West Hollywood resident Jonathan Strauss has two children between the ages of 5 and 2, and said “he’s fine with the mask requirements for returning premises.”

Recently, the family came across a vaccinated unscathed man at an ice cream shop who told them he didn’t even guess that there was no vaccine for children under 12 yet.

“My main thing to emphasize to others is that there are still many members in our community who cannot be vaccinated because of their age or health, and that they can theoretically be infected by vaccinated people,” said the 41-year-old. Strauss.

Despite the risk, he and his wife hope the growing number of cases in Los Angeles County won’t stop schools from opening in the fall – as long as schools are careful about camouflage, testing and other safety procedures.

On Thursday, the Unified School District of Los Angeles announced that all students and staff will be required to take weekly tests for coronavirus, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.

Many health experts say that advancing plans to rebuild schools still makes sense.

Swan recently published a report which found that without camouflage in schools, an additional 70% of children could be infected with the coronavirus within three months. Her research also shows that even if camouflage is needed in all schools, she still expects 40% of elementary school students to be infected within three months.

She said even with this knowledge the school should be reopened for the 2021-22 school year with the introduction of additional mitigation strategies.

“Schools, counties and states can also increase testing of their populations and communities, which will also help slow the spread of the disease,” she said.

As the Delta option spreads, health officials continue to closely monitor the number of vaccinations, which remain at a terribly low level among young people.

“It’s clear that vaccination rates among young people in Los Angeles County are much lower than for older people, and with greater opportunities for interaction,” Los Angeles County Health Director Barbara Ferrer told reporters on Thursday.

The biggest gap remains not only among young people but also among some colored young people.

According to Ferrer, only 24% of blacks and 33% of Hispanics aged 12 to 15 made at least one shot compared to 50% of whites and 76% of Asians in this age group.

Overall, about 50% of teens in Los Angeles County between the ages of 12 and 17 received at least one dose of the vaccine, Ferrer said, compared to about 70% of the county’s population as a whole.

There are signs that the coronavirus outbreak is stabilizing, Ferrer said, noting that the level of positive test results is starting to level off. But the positivity of 5.17% is still much higher than on June 15, when it was below 1%.

“We still have about 4 million residents of the county not yet vaccinated,” Ferrer said. “This risk of increasing the spread of this option in our county remains high.”

Not every parent seeks to send their children to school.

57-year-old Deborah Popink of Mar Vista said one of her children prefers to study at home and the other is looking forward to returning to the theater but doesn’t know how it will work with masks.

Popink, who previously worked as a LAUSD teacher, is also disappointed with the new weekly testing, which she says requires vaccinated families to carry the weight of the unvaccinated.

“If everyone was vaccinated [there] weekly tests will not be needed, “she said. She also noted that there was still a lack of guidance on when and where the tests would be conducted and how school-related activities such as car park trips, sports teams and parents attending campuses.

“It’s a public health crisis, and I guess it’s going to get worse, not get better,” she said. “Kids aren’t going to keep masks on all day. Even in normal times, kids like to sneak into the bathroom to swim or just do what the kids do. ”

Her daughter, 16-year-old Delilah, said she was less worried about herself than about classmates who had not been vaccinated.

“There’s no way to know who’s vaccinated,” she said, “so we don’t have the ability to protect unvaccinated children.”

Pediatricians are still concerned about the spread of the Delta variant, with Williamson noting that parents should avoid contact with unvaccinated people, including family members, “because they can bring the virus home to their children.”

Dr. Gregory Poland, an immunologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minneson, said outbreaks are likely inevitable.

When unvaccinated children prepare to re-huddle in classrooms and on buses, the outbreak of infections associated with the opening of schools, “cannot no will happen, ”he said.

But most experts also agreed that a “safe and reasonable” approach to the COVID-19 protocols — along with more adults doing their job for vaccination — should at least eliminate some of the risk.

“If you weigh the risks and benefits … I think children should be sent to school while mitigation measures are in place,” said Dr. Eric Ball, a pediatrician at Orange County Children’s Primary Care Network.

Like Williamson, Bola has seen an increase in the number of coronavirus patients in recent weeks, with the vast majority of infections among unvaccinated adolescents and children who are too young to be vaccinated. He said the cases are manifested in different ways, ranging from young children with cold symptoms and ending with older children who become “quite sick”.

The feelings of fear and sadness he experienced last year were disappointing, he said, as adults could do more to prevent the current surge.

He also said that most teachers and adults in schools should be vaccinated, and that almost every high school and high school student now has the opportunity to get vaccinated.

“So really it has to be our push,” Ball said. “To make sure we vaccinate as many people as possible to protect children who are too young to be vaccinated.”

The Times writer, an employee of Melissa Healy, contributed to this report.


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