Pfizer announces COVID-19 vaccine is safe for children aged 5 to 11 years!
Yep, I’m back 🙂
I have received so many emails of support and encouragement to bring back the newsletter, so here you go!
I took a couple of weeks off of writing this newsletter, in part because I craved some extra time with my family and in part due to feeling pretty disheartened by the escalation of anti-vaccination and anti-mask rhetoric and protests outside hospitals across the country.
Some of my colleagues were harassed, intimidated, and abused for going to work helping people and saving lives. Some patients were unable to access care due to these protests. Disgraceful and unconscionable.
Many of you reached out in support of the tireless work of health care providers. I believe most Canadians are grateful for our tireless work, and most value the excellent service of health care providers. But boy, is it demoralizing after two years of putting our lives and our family’s lives at risk. It is like a sucker punch, truly.
There is no use dwelling on it; I am back to help educate you. I love when you share the newsletter with friends and family. I want to empower and educate with evidence-based information and stifle the nonsense mythical ‘evidence’ out there. Share freely.
Let’s review the bad news, the good news, your most common questions of the week, and my silver lining.
Dr. Dina, what is the bad news?
There have been over 227 million cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide. The reported global death toll is more than 4.6 million.
We are certainly in the fourth wave. COVID-19 rates in the U.S. continue to rise due to vaccine hesitance and anti-mask sentiment.
In Canada, there have been over 1.57 million cases of COVID-19 and over 27,000 deaths.
The situation is pretty stable in Ontario (from 500-800 new cases a day) but is a mess in Alberta. Alberta is now in a state of public health emergency, finally imposing strict measures to combat their fourth wave of COVID-19 while trying to stave off the ongoing health care crisis after months of lackadaisical public health control.
Alberta’s current COVID outbreak demonstrates well the power of vaccination.
What is the good news?
COVID vaccination rates remain very high in Canada. However, less so in other areas of the world.
Questions of the week
When will kids be eligible for a vaccine?
*** Announced today, September 20, 2021: Pfizer announced today its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11. They will seek U.S. authorization for kids soon. Side effects were reported to be mild and similar to what adults and teens experience. They did not report on specific side effect frequency.
Watch Dr. Dina’s Interview on CTV News
Results from other COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials for kids five to eleven are expected within the next few weeks. Pfizer is likely to request approval from Health Canada to use their vaccine in kids 5-11 and may seek approval for kids six months to five years later in 2021. As we know more, I will update you.
Cambodia is already vaccinating children aged 6-11, enabling students to more safely return to schools that have been closed for months due to the pandemic. 72% of Cambodia’s 17 million people have received at least one COVID-19 dose.
Who is eligible for third doses in Ontario?
Some immunocompromised individuals qualify for a third dose a minimum of eight weeks after the second dose. Eligible patients will be contacted by their health care provider and require a referral letter to receive the third dose.
Those eligible for a third dose:
- Patients with hematologic cancers or solid tumors on active treatment.
- Transplant recipients and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell recipients.
- Patients with moderate to severe immunodeficiency (for example, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome and DiGeorge syndrome).
- Patients with AIDS or stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection.
- Patients on specific immunosuppressive therapies (such as anti-B cell therapies, high-dose systemic corticosteroids, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors) and,
- Residents of high-risk congregate settings (long-term care homes and First Nations eldercare lodges) – at least five months after the second dose.
My kids don’t want to wear a mask. What should I do?
I find the vast majority of kids are ok wearing masks.
Practice makes perfect.
Try and buy a few different brands of masks and see what they find most comfortable.
KN95 is my recent favorite for kids. While I don’t love the waste from disposable masks, KN95 masks don’t touch the lips and allow more room for the mouth and nose. Unfortunately, many kids will suck or chew on fabric masks, leaving them wet and uncomfortable. Plus, fabric masks do not prevent COVID-19 to the same extent as medical-grade masks or KN95.
The most important way to get your kids to wear a mask – wear one yourself. Kids love to mimic what we do, so be a role model!
Should I get the vaccine if I already had COVID-19?
According to Public Health and the CDC, it is recommended to get the vaccine even if you had a previous infection. Immunity gained through vaccination is more robust and lasts longer than immunity from an earlier infection. Studies show that those with an earlier infection are more than 2X as likely to get COVID again than those who received two vaccines.
Do vaccines still work against the Delta variant?
Yes! Complete vaccination significantly reduces the risk of severe illness from COVID-19, hospitalization, and death from the Delta variant. Breakthrough infections are possible but usually result in mild or asymptomatic illness.
According to the CDC, on August 24, when Delta accounted for the majority of cases in the U.S., the vaccine effectiveness fell from 91% to 66%. Importantly, vaccines strongly prevent severe disease, including hospitalization and death. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people with severe illness are unvaccinated (or singularly vaccinated).
The silver lining of the week
Never have there been more kids eager and excited for school than 2021. Every child I have encountered in the last two weeks has been enthusiastic about being back in school, keen to tell me all about it, and excited to go back tomorrow.
This, my friends, is incredible!
(Think about yourself as a child. How much did we dread going to school? Ugh… school… again!?). Now kids are jumping for joy at the opportunity! This is a HUGE SILVER LINING!
Thanks for joining me again, friends, and have a great week!
Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.