On Monday, NBC News highlighted a list of “tips for protecting your kids” which suggested that children should “avoid interaction with unvaccinated individuals.”
NBC News anchors Morgan Radford and Vicky Nguyen had a segment with NBC’s medical advisor Dr. John Torres where they put together a list of tips to protect children. We have recently seen the rise of respiratory illnesses like RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and parents are obviously concerned. Going into the winter season we would normally see an uptick in flu and coronavirus cases.
According to Radford, “75% of all pediatric beds across the country are already at full capacity as of upticks in COVID and RSV, and in the flu.” However hospitals typically report a 85-90% occupancy rate throughout the year and the 75% rate is not alarming.
When Dr. Torres was speaking, the news show displayed a list of tips for keeping children safe which included suggestions such as washing hands, getting the flu and coronavirus vaccines, staying home if showing symptoms of being sick, and finally, avoiding contact with the unvaccinated.
Dr. Torres did not directly say that unvaccinated people should be avoided but suggested avoiding “passing around” their kids to people they don’t know well during the holidays. He explained “the main thing is, number one, those who can get vaccinated against COVID and flu are vaccinated. It’s still time to get it even though Thanksgiving is a week and a half away. You can still get and give some protection. On top of that, if you’re around other family members, make sure people wash their hands. Stay home if you’re sick. You can’t overemphasize that. If you’re around people that you don’t really know that well, the old days of last year, passing around the child and everybody wants to hug and kiss the child, I’d avoid that this year or at least make sure people wash their hands.”
Jokingly, Radford suggested why not ask family to get more vaccines like tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis before the holiday gatherings. ”You are speaking my language,” she said. “My husband literally sent an email to all the grandparents last night being like ‘Hey you guys mind getting your Tdap vaccine? Do you mind?’”
Torres replied,“There’s nothing wrong with doing that. That’s perfectly acceptable.”
The TDAP vaccine is highly recommended by medical experts for those around infants and very young children.
The increase in RSV cases remains a big concern for children’s health and it is thought that because of the major push for COVID prevention, children were isolated and not exposed to a vast array of pathogens which would normally help build an immune response.
According to an article by Dr. Hossein Sadeghi, an associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, he said “most children, by the time they were two years of age, had at least one episode of RSV infection, which helped them build immunity. That changed with pandemic precautions and isolations in the past few years.”
We should all be concerned with new viruses as they arise and take necessary precautions, but to suggest distancing yourself from those who are unvaccinated from COVID is not the answer.