Aspirus talks COVID-19 safety considerations for young children
For the Tomahawk Leader
WISCONSIN – Aspirus Health recently provided information regarding COVID-19 safety considerations for young children.
“Parents have been required to frequently adjust to ever-changing information during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their children safe,” Aspirus stated in a release. “Health officials across the country are starting to ease restrictions after two years of masking requirements, virtual classrooms and vaccine roll outs.”
Aspirus said that while coronavirus cases around the country continue to decline, “parents still need to take steps to make sure their children stay safe from COVID-19.”
“Just like everyone else, kids can get sick with COVID-19,” said Jason Chan, MD, Aspirus Health Pediatrician. “While it’s true that they haven’t been as affected compared to adults, it’s not zero. And they also play a role in spreading the disease and continuing the pandemic.”
Vaccines remain the best way to keep yourself and your children safe from COVID-19, Aspirus said, noting that many parents are eager to get their younger children vaccinated, but the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) postponed its review of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for children under age five, leaving some parents to have to wait to vaccinate their kids.
“The FDA and the medical community at large really want to get this right and part of the issue with the younger kids was that they weren’t getting a big enough response from just the two doses,” Dr. Chan stated. “One of the tricky things with coronavirus is that it changes a lot and overall, the vaccines are effective against the variants, but they weren’t seeing the effect that they want.”
Aspirus said some children, just like adults, wrestle with long-term health problems from COVID-19, often referred to as “long COVID.”
Doctors across the country are bracing for a potential surge in multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) (www.cdc.gov/mis/mis-c.html) cases after the Omicron variant made a record number of US children sick in January.
“Studies show that vaccinated children are less likely to suffer from long-term side effects from COVID-19 such as MIS-C,” Aspirus said, citing data (www.bit.ly/3vfgAlU) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We’re still learning more about the long-term effects of COVID-19,” Dr. Chan stated. “I think the most effective and important thing is to get your kids vaccinated when they’re able.”
Aspirus said thaw while there’s no vaccine authorized for children younger than age five, parents can protect them by making sure every adult around them is fully vaccinated.
Following local health guidelines also is still important, Aspirus noted.
“Wash your hands frequently, stay home if you’re sick and wear a mask,” Dr. Chan said. “In other parts of the world, masks have been in use for a long time during flu seasons and those countries experienced less disease from those illnesses.”
COVID-19 vaccinations are available through Aspirus Health and numerous pharmacies in local communities. Boosters or initial vaccination series can be scheduled through Aspirus using the MyAspirus online patient portal or mobile app. Appointments are also available by calling the Aspirus COVID-19 Call Center at 844-568-0701 or 715-843-1454. Community members are encouraged to use MyAspirus for convenience.