‘Don’t wait to vaccinate,’ warn pediatricians and specialists amid rising hospitalizations in wake of the omicron variant
Submitted Guest Editorial by UBMD Pediatrics
Physicians at UBMD Pediatrics and affiliated practices are urging parents to get their children 5 and older fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
To increase childhood vaccination rates in Western New York, the physicians at UBMD Pediatrics have issued vaccine guidance for parents during a local and national surge of COVID-19 hospital admissions for children with underlying health conditions.
Vaccinations are particularly important for children with known health conditions, including those with chronic diseases. Especially at risk are those with:
√ Chronic lung disease: Including asthma requiring daily prescription therapy, cystic fibrosis, reduced lung function
√ Type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus
√ Sickle cell disease
√ Children with immunodeficiency (primary immune deficiencies or children receiving prolonged use of immune-weakening medications such as corticosteroids, biologics, immunomodulators, or cancer chemotherapy within 90 days)
√ History of bone marrow or organ transplantation
√ Overweight or obese
√ Known diagnosis of hypertension
√ Cardiovascular disease
√ Chronic kidney disease
√ Neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome) or other conditions that confer medical complexity (e.g., genetic or metabolic syndromes and severe congenital anomalies)
√ Any new criteria identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as to be a risk factor for severe COVID-19 for pediatric patients
“Vaccinations are particularly important for children with known comorbidities, including those that compromise their immune systems,” said Steven Lipshultz, M.D., president of UBMD Pediatrics. “We strongly encourage all patients, particularly those with chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes as well as transplant recipients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine series.”
As professors and researchers at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, many physicians at UBMD Pediatrics are studying COVID-19 and are able to prove the most up-to-date guidance.
√ Children with underlying health conditions are at a greater risk for complications from COVID-19.
√ With the omicron variant’s increased level of spread, more children are getting COVID-19 and being admitted to hospitals for severe disease.
√ Our providers want to reduce the chance that your child will have a severe illness and hospitalization from a COVID infection, including from multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
√ Currently, only approximately 25% of children 5-11-years old in the United States have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
√ Your child may get the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including flu vaccine, at the same time.
“We’ve seen a range of symptoms among children, from very mild to serious illness, even requiring hospitalization,” said Lipshultz, who is also the A. Conger Goodyear professor and chair of the department of pediatrics at the Jacobs School. “That’s why we recommend the vaccine for children ages 5 years and older to protect them.”
The risks of COVID-19 for children:
√ Children can get very sick from COVID-19.
√ Children can suffer short- and long-term health complications and spread COVID-19 to others.
√ Vaccinations are particularly important for children with known comorbidities, including those that compromise their immune systems, particularly those with chronic disease such as asthma and diabetes.
√ Developing multisystem inflammatory syndrome of children (MIS-C), which is a condition that can develop two-to-three weeks after onset of a COVID-19 infection. MIS-C causes severe inflammation to organs throughout the body; the inflammation can lead to organ damage and even death.
About the Vaccine
√ In clinical trials, vaccination was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 and MIS-C in children ages 5 years and older.
√ The vaccine does not contain a live virus, but prompts a response from the body. This allows the body to form the needed immune response to protect against the COVID-19 virus when a person comes in contact with it.
√ The COVID-19 vaccine has been studied carefully in children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CDC, and the expert panel that works with them, have reviewed the data from clinical trials. They all agree that vaccination for children ages 5 years and older is safe and effective.
Where to get vaccinated:
√ Local pediatrician offices
√ Local pharmacies
√ Erie County Department of Health locations
UBMD Pediatrics is also offering COVID-19 vaccines to patients and family members.
“While we’re urging our patients and the community to get vaccinated as soon as possible anywhere they can, we’re also offering vaccines to all UBMD Pediatric patients and families that come in for appointments to at our Buffalo office,” Lipshultz SAID.
At the UBMD Pediatrics’ Conventus location, age-range specific doses are available to patients and their family members. For families who are cared for by UBMD Pediatrics specialty providers, please contact your provider’s office to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine or schedule a vaccination appointment at our Conventus office.
UBMD Pediatrics is located at Conventus Medical Office Building, 1001 Main St., 4th Floor, Buffalo, NY 14203.
Providers of UBMD Pediatrics are also delivering vaccinations to patients 5 years and older at Kaleida Health’s Niagara Street Pediatrics and Broadway Pediatrics offices, as well as to our pediatric cancer patients in the cancer and blood disorders program, a joint program among UBMD Pediatrics, Oishei Children’s Hospital and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Your child may have some side effects that are a response to the vaccine. Some common side effects are
√ Pain, redness, or swelling on the arm
√ Muscle pain, chills or fever
Some children will have no side effects; severe allergic reactions are rare.
Most of the time, the only things your child might need after vaccination is rest, a non-aspirin pain reliever, and a cool washcloth at the injection site.
After vaccination, you can create or use your account to enter your child’s information in v-safe, which is an easy-to-use smartphone-based tool to report to the CDC how your child is feeling after vaccination and can remind you when the second dose is due.
If your child experiences a severe allergic reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, providers of UBMD Pediatrics and Oishei Children’s Hospital are ready to respond. The safety of COVID-19 vaccine continues to be monitored. This includes the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis in children and adolescents 5 years and older.
UBMD Pediatrics is one of 18 practice plans within UBMD Physicians’ Group, the single largest medical group in Western New York. We provide premier primary and specialty health care to infants, children, adolescents and young adults throughout Western New York and beyond. Our doctors make up the academic teaching faculty within the department of pediatrics at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, and are also the physicians at Oishei Children’s Hospital. For more information, visit UBMDPediatrics.com.
The statements and opinions provided above are from UBMD Pediatrics. Niagara Frontier Publications does not make any endorsement or guaranty as to the medical advice contained herein. Please consult your own doctor before making any health-related decisions.