December 15, 2022
Dr. Jerry Williams of Urgent Care 24/7 discusses important information regarding the COVID-19 vaccinations in kids.
The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics are recommending that children 12 years and up, be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, which is a series of two injections three weeks apart. That's you've probably heard about that on the news. But what's interesting is that the World Health Organization has now just come out and changed the position, not recommending COVID-19 vaccination for kids and teenagers. We've got this, these very influential health organizations with conflicting recommendations.
Now, first of all, immunization is a very personal decision, and in some cases with some folks a very politically charged decision, or topic, but Dr. Williams wanted folks to understand what the reasoning is for immunizing kids for COVID-19, when COVID is such an incredibly benign illness in children. First of all, we're never going to get rid of COVID and COVID is endemic now. It's in the environment worldwide and it's not something we're going to get rid of. We certainly want to do everything we can to keep it in check. Maybe one day, though, it is doubtful, in his opinion that we would get herd immunity, which is when you have enough immunity in the population where the virus essentially doesn't have a place to land and becomes quiescent, because of a lack of hosts that can be infected. Herd immunity has always been the goal.
Though we're a long way from herd immunity, and what it will take to achieve herd immunity is another topic of debate whether it's 70% of the population, or 90 plus percent of the population. Dr. Fauci has been criticized for how his opinion on that percentage to achieve her herd immunity has varied over time. There is an important reason to immunize the population that you need to understand, and it doesn't have to do necessarily with herd immunity. What it has to do with is every time an individual is infected with COVID-19, or any other virus for that matter. When the virus replicates or reproduces, you have this huge bloom of viral load in the infected individual.
The more times a virus replicates itself, the more opportunity there is for a mutation to occur or mutations to occur and a mutation is a change. Now not all changes in the genetic material of any organism or a virus for this matter. As in this case, is necessarily a change that would make the virus more virulent, or more easily, more easily transmissible, or more deadly. Some changes can occur in the virus that aren't to the benefit of making the virus more dangerous, but in that case, those mutations would not have the opportunity to get spread, because they're not. They're not advantageous from an evolutionary perspective for the virus to be more dangerous and more virulent. But in the case of mutations, where the virus becomes more virulent, more dangerous, that those mutations would obviously be more able by the increase in virulence of the virus to be spread.
When you immunize an individual and they don't, they're less likely to become infected, you're reducing the number of hosts that can be infected, therefore, you're reducing the number of replications of the virus. When you're looking at the billions, trillions of replications, you're that you can reduce by immunizing the population, you're reducing the number of replications. Therefore, you're reducing the number of opportunities for dangerous mutations that can increase virulence, or deadliness or effectiveness of the virus.
As much as we can reduce the opportunities that the virus has to mutate into a more dangerous state, the better off we are. Now, we certainly can't make the cure worse than the disease and there's been a lot of concern over heart complications surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine and it's something that we do need to keep an eye on. Obviously, it can be a very dangerous side effect. Fortunately, the myocarditis and pericarditis complications of the heart associated with the COVID-19 vaccine have been rare.
So again, a very personal decision on whether you immunize your child or not. World Health Organization says, "Not enough evidence yet to recommend vaccinating children". American Academy of Pediatrics, Center for Disease Control CDC are saying to immunize children 12 and up with the Pfizer vaccine. Now you understand at least on both sides, for and against what the concerns are. Number one, again to reiterate, immunization decreases the number of hosts that the virus can infect, therefore cuts down on the opportunities for the virus to mutate and become more virulent or more deadly.
For those that don't feel that it's safe and the World Health Organization, concurs with these folks and says we don't have enough evidence yet. The argument is not a serious disease in children. Dr. Williams looks forward to talking to you again chatting with you again on another medical topic.
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