As Omicron Surges, Effort to Vaccinate Young Children Stalls

Two months after Pfizer’s covid vaccine was authorized for children ages 5 to 11, just 27% have received at least one shot, according to Jan. 12 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 18%, or 5 million kids, have both doses.

The national effort to vaccinate children has stalled even as the omicron variant upends schooling for millions of children and their families amid staffing shortages, shutdowns and heated battles over how to safely operate. Vaccination rates vary substantially across the country, a KHN analysis of the federal data shows. Nearly half of Vermont’s 5- to 11-year-olds are fully vaccinated, while fewer than 10% have gotten both shots in nine mostly Southern states.

Pediatricians say the slow pace and geographic disparities are alarming, especially against the backdrop of record numbers of cases and pediatric hospitalizations. School-based vaccine mandates for students, which some pediatricians say are needed to boost rates substantially, remain virtually nonexistent.

You have these large swaths of vulnerable children who are going to school,” said Dr. Samir Shah, a director at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Compounding the problem is that states with low vaccination rates “are less likely to require masking or distancing or other nonpartisan public health precautions,” he said.

In Louisiana, where 5% of kids ages 5 to 11 have been fully vaccinated, Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, added the shot to the list of required school immunizations for the fall, over the objections of state legislators, who are mostly Republicans. The District of Columbia and California, where about 1 in 5 elementary school kids are fully vaccinated, have added similar requirements. But those places are exceptions — 15 states have banned covid vaccine mandates in K-12 schools, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy.

Mandates are one of multiple “scientifically valid public health strategies,” Shah said. “I do think that what would be ideal; I don’t think that we as a society have a will to do that.”

Vaccine demand surged in November, with an initial wave of enthusiasm after the shot was approved for younger children. But parents have vaccinated younger kids at a slower pace than 12- to 15-year-olds, who became eligible in May. It took nearly six weeks for 1 in 5 younger kids to get their first shot, while adolescents reached that milestone in two weeks.

Experts cite several factors slowing the effort: Because kids are less likely than adults to be hospitalized or die from the virus, some parents are less inclined to vaccinate their children. Misinformation campaigns have fueled concerns about immediate and long-term health risks of the vaccine. And finding appointments at pharmacies or with pediatricians has been a bear.

“One of the problems we’ve had is this perception that kids aren’t at risk for serious illness from this virus,” said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases. “That’s obviously not true.”

Parents are left to

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PAHO: Omicron to become dominant variant in Americas shortly | Health and Fitness

MIAMI (AP) — The Pan American Health Organization said Wednesday it expects omicron to become the predominant coronavirus variant in the Americas in the coming weeks, where confirmed cases have reached record levels.

The health agency added that although healthcare systems face challenges with rising hospitalizations, vaccination has meant that COVID-19 deaths have not increased at the same rate as infections.

“While delta is still causing new infections in the Americas, based on current trends, omicron is on track to become the dominant strain in our region,” Carissa Etienne, director of the agency known by its initials PAHO, said during an online news conference.

PAHO said coronavirus virus infections across the Americas almost doubled to 6.1 million on Jan. 8, from 3.4 million cases on Jan. 1. The number of cases was 250% higher than a year earlier, when there were 2.4 million.

It said that in the first week of 2022, deaths related to COVID-19 in the Americas increased 31% from the previous week.

The omicron variant, which spreads more easily, has been detected in 42 of the 56 countries and territories of the Americas.

The United States is reporting the highest number of cases, while Canada is also registering a rebound. In the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have seen the highest increases, while Belize and Panama have seen rises in Central America.

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6 factors not to get omicron appropriate now : Shots

Keith Bishop/Getty Photos

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Keith Bishop/Getty Images

Thousands and thousands of men and women are testing positive with COVID-19 in the U.S. every single 7 days and the Food and drug administration warns that most Americans will get the virus at some level. With developing proof that the omicron variant probable causes milder illness, some folks may perhaps be considering: Why not inspire omicron to infect us so we can enjoy existence all over again?

Which is not a fantastic concept for a lot of motives, say infectious sickness authorities and doctors. Do not toss your mask absent and do not even feel about hosting a 1970s-type rooster pox bash, the omicron model. Here’s why:

1. You could get sicker than you want to

“Even for boosted people, just mainly because you never conclude up in the hospital, you can however be really depressing for a handful of days,” Dr. Ashish Jha, a medical professional and Dean of the Brown University College of Public Overall health reported on All Factors Regarded. “Not guaranteed why you have to have to seek that out.”

Whilst omicron would seem to provoke milder disease for quite a few men and women, “the truth is that it is really probably someplace in amongst what you assume of as a popular cold or flu and the COVID that we experienced just before,” claims Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease medical doctor at UChicagoMedicine. “And there are even now a great deal of risks of obtaining COVID.”

And, of study course, if you have any risk aspects that set you in the vulnerable classification, which include age, you could nevertheless get severely unwell.

Even if you do get an incredibly delicate situation, you can expect to pass up out on existence although isolating.

2. You could spread the virus to vulnerable individuals

When you happen to be infected with COVID, you can unknowingly distribute it to other folks just before you have symptoms. You could possibly expose your spouse and children, roommates, co-personnel, or random individuals in the grocery store, states epidemiologist Monthly bill Miller of The Ohio Condition University.

“And while you could possibly have designed a mindful conclusion to permit yourself to be exposed and contaminated, these individuals have not manufactured that very same alternative,” he suggests. And they could possibly have a increased threat level than you.

You have forced your selection on other individuals, Miller claims, and that selection could lead to serious sickness or even demise.

Or you could distribute it to a child who is nevertheless also youthful to get vaccinated, states Dr. Judy Guzman-Cottrill, professor of pediatrics at Oregon Wellbeing & Science University. “Across the region and in my own point out, we are viewing much more sick youngsters currently being hospitalized with COVID pneumonia, croup, and bronchiolitis,” she claims.

3. Your immunity will previous months — not yrs

As opposed to chickenpox, acquiring a COVID-19 an infection is not a get-out-of-jail-totally free card for prolonged.

T wo key points

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Pentagon Reservation raises health and fitness safety coverage degree as Omicron spreads

Just 8 days right after the Pentagon Reservation made the decision to prolong its max telework coverage to the stop of January, officials have increased the region’s Wellness Defense Issue to Charlie.

The boost marks the maximum health and fitness warn at the Pentagon considering that the end of 2020.

“The secretary of Defense’s number just one priority through the COVID-19 pandemic carries on to be protecting our workforce even though accomplishing our nationwide safety mission,” a Thursday Protection Division launch states. “Supervisors will keep on to provide optimum telework opportunities and adaptable scheduling to optimize the workforce while defending our nation, having care of our individuals, and guaranteeing achievements by way of teamwork.”

The HPCON Charlie policy will go into result on Jan. 10 and will have to have that companies keep workspace capacity at a lot less than 25%.

All personnel and readers in the Pentagon will have to don masks indoors and supervisors will carry on to give most telework opportunities when feasible.

Other insurance policies involve enforcing social distancing of 6 ft, closing the Pentagon Athletic Middle to every person besides active duty armed service and 1st responders and limiting any meetings to less than 10 individuals.

Official people will be minimal to the bare minimum required for mission significant conferences and there will be no selections for indoor seating in the food courtroom.

“DoD continues to be dedicated to defending our people today, preserving mission readiness, and supporting the total-of-govt work reaction to COVID-19,” the Pentagon’s assertion suggests. “We are continually emphasizing to our people today the need to get thoroughly vaccinated for COVID-19, and encouraging all people eligible to get a booster shot and take steps to protect by themselves and those around them by utilizing protective actions, like practising great hand washing, social distancing, sporting tight-fitting deal with coverings, and getting proper actions if sensation sick now. These can radically decrease the threat of infection and gradual COVID-19’s unfold.”

The increase in overall health protections is owing to a “dramatic increase” in COVID-19 conditions, according to the official memo signed by Deputy Protection Secretary Kathleen Hicks.

DoD reported it will be monitoring the challenge and did not state a timeline for when it will go out of HPCON Charlie.

The Omicron variant of the disorder has been sweeping as a result of the nation, bringing COVID-19 conditions to file quantities. As of Jan. 5, the 7-working day transferring typical for new COVID instances was at a lot more than 584,000.

DoD declared that it would prolong max telework via the close of January on Dec. 28, 2021. At the time DoD made the decision to continue to be of HPCON Bravo Plus, a distinction produced in the course of the pandemic.

DoD had been functioning at Bravo As well as because September when the Delta variant began having maintain.

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Fda Claims Fast At-Dwelling COVID Exams Not as Delicate to Omicron | Health News

By Robin Foster, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 29, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — Early investigate suggests that some fast COVID-19 exams may possibly be much less ready to detect the Omicron variant, the U.S. Foodstuff and Drug Administration claimed Tuesday.

To occur to that summary, the company utilised samples from patients confirmed to be infected with the Omicron variant to see how very well the immediate antigen exams perform.

In a assertion, the Fda claimed that antigen assessments “do detect the Omicron variant, but may well have decreased sensitivity,” meaning it truly is feasible the assessments could overlook an an infection, especially in the early stages of the disease.

That’s not excellent news, as the Omicron variant fuels surging case numbers throughout the place and folks are scrambling to find at-house immediate tests. Antigen tests can be performed within minutes at household, even though the a lot more accurate PCR exams are processed in labs and have for a longer time turnaround situations.

Even now, the Fda stopped brief of indicating that persons must cease utilizing antigen checks.

“The Fda continues to authorize the use of these assessments as directed in the approved labeling and men and women really should go on to use them in accordance with the instructions involved with the checks,” the agency mentioned. “Antigen exams are frequently a lot less delicate and much less probably to pick up extremely early infections in contrast to molecular [PCR] assessments.”

The Fda failed to specify what swift at-house exams had been utilised in its early investigate.

“With every new variant, we have to make absolutely sure that the checks get the job done, and it appears to be like the exams perform for this. But they’re not selecting up infections as early as past variations,” Gigi Gronvall, a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Heart for Wellness Stability in Baltimore, told NBC News. “So if you experience any signs and symptoms but take a look at damaging, it is not a get-out-of-jail-no cost card. You may perhaps need to take a look at yet again and keep off a little little bit on assuming that you’re unfavorable.”

The Fda encouraged abide by-up tests for everyone who assessments destructive with a fast antigen test but is enduring symptoms.

“If a man or woman assessments beneficial with an antigen examination, they really should self-isolate and request observe-up treatment with a wellbeing treatment provider to decide the up coming actions,” the agency claimed.

Previously this thirty day period, President Joe Biden introduced that his administration would distribute 500 million swift COVID checks to Individuals for free, setting up in January. New COVID screening sites will also be set up nationwide, in addition to the 20,000 presently in procedure.

On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disorder Control and Avoidance issued new direction saying individuals who examination constructive for COVID but have no signs or symptoms should really isolate for 5 days, down from the earlier advice of 10 times. The company

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Wellness care worker fatalities surged for the duration of delta. How to continue to keep them safer through omicron: Analysis

The omicron variant has now been detected in all 50 states. Although far more will be known about omicron in the in close proximity to foreseeable future, the toll the new variant is using on an already taxed overall health care program is of worry now.

Acquire a appear again at what the delta surge did to the wellness treatment workforce (described by Facilities for Illness Management and Avoidance (CDC) as paid or unpaid workers who are exposed to people or infectious resources) – many of them experienced burnout, experienced grueling workloads thanks to staffing shortages and non-COVID care was impacted.

The difficulties are starting to mount with staffing shortages for the reason that of omicron bacterial infections, and in some areas of the country hospitals are being strained.

Studies from the CDC consist of a very hanging truth: seven of the 10 deadliest months for overall health employees all through the pandemic transpired following July 2021. This was an inflection position in which we had mounting situations of delta, a lot more than 30% unvaccinated People, youngsters returning to faculty along with companies reopening workplaces in some pieces of the state.

Fatalities from COVID-19 at the starting of the pandemic weren’t astonishing. It was a new condition, we were finding out, and vaccines had been not out there. Own protecting gear (PPE) was in shorter offer. Our knowledge of how to handle men and women was restricted.

But then, as envisioned, vacation travel subsided and far more importantly, vaccines grew to become experienced more out there and experienced even wider uptake with personnel mandates. The range of fatalities dropped.

Right until late summer of this yr, that is. Less than five health care personnel died of COVID in early June of 2021. But through the to start with 7 days of August 2021, the selection shot up to 70 and a week later on it was 85. In September, the amount of health care staff useless from COVID spiked to 109.

Some professionals say the increase in COVID-relevant wellness care employee fatalities correlated with university reopening in the drop and the increase in the delta variant.

At above 18% of reported scenarios, health treatment staff continue to bear a sizeable brunt of COVID disease stress in the place. Ongoing publicity to infection which include to bigger danger unvaccinated folks means amplified chance to our important health care workforce, reported John Brownstein, Ph.D., an epidemiologist, chief innovation officer at Boston Kid’s Clinic and an ABC News contributor.

We really do not know the vaccination position of healthcare employees that have died but unequivocally the proof suggests vaccines are hugely protecting in opposition to sever illness, hospitalizations and fatalities.

Well being treatment workers ended up at the front of the line for COVID vaccines. And confident ample, once they commenced to get vaccinated, their risk for dying dropped precipitously.

But late summer

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