we don’t need a brilliant scientist to tell us we’re likely to get viruses and what we should do about them. We now can use simple videos to explain… y’know… what viruses are and how to defend ourselves. This is a particular problem when children get diagnosed with a virus and with their packed lunches full of expensive and risk factors…it’s all a bit much.
Moreover, social workers, teachers and nannies haven’t been getting sufficient training in how to help young people cope with the discovery that they are getting a really bad flu. They will probably feel they’re left with little choice than to send them back home. Therein lies the rub – indeed, it is the carers in the most difficult situations who are finding this the hardest to cope with. But what’s more, it’s not fair. Yes, they’re having to throw away their child’s winter warm clothes, school and work and health bills, etc. No one can be blamed for that, can they? But should that stop them from trying to help their child? Do we really want to withhold the right to a high quality of education, work, etc because there is a risk that they may get sick?
Well, yes. If we increase the risks in every area it only makes sense to reduce them for children less exposed to the virus.
According to the statistics, there are relatively fewer serious viral infections in children under 2 than in adults (95.7% in children to 88.6% in adults). So what to do?
For the purposes of this letter, I’ll concentrate on the American immunization schedule for childhood. The schedule explains that if both parents are recommended immunized (e.g., under 1%, 2%, 3+ months), the child should have his or her first dose in the fall before Halloween (5 to 11 months old), his or her second dose in the spring before Memorial Day (5 to 13 months old), and the third dose in the summer before Labour Day (5 to 19 months old). For about 18 months of age, no more than 1% of the population receives a thimerosal vaccine. According to a federal source, that vaccine is approved for children and babies under 2 years old. The remaining 75-80% of our population doesn’t get the thimerosal vaccines either. Children aged 1 to 23 months received as many as 29 million shots in 2017 and the recommendations call for a total of about 5 million. Sadly, there is no alternative to the flu vaccine for children.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information on how to immunize young children who are infected with a virus. How does one tell if a child is infected and then find out the person’s vaccination status? My advice is that if you think that your child is infected, it makes sense to get the CDC’s numbers ASAP. If you think the kid is infected but not covered by the original immunization schedule, there’s a ‘gotchas’ situation in which the child is likely to catch the virus. This is probably what was occurring with young children under 2 who were getting all the lab ‘shocks’. Now they have fewer shivers and other symptoms, but they are more likely to come down with the flu.
There is some circumstantial evidence that this outbreak of flu is highly unusual in large numbers of children. The use of antiviral medication for flu early in the influenza season (in this case Jan) has been extraordinary, as I wrote last week, and the initial tracking reports in adults indicate that they had stronger seasonal immune responses to the virus than is typical in large numbers of adults.
What we need is better information about protecting our children. You can help by simply asking your friends and families to get vaccines for the major vaccines under the 2019.1 US CDC recommendations. Better still is to increase the childcare and early education vaccination schedule to the 2019 1 vaccinations. Young people need a full immunization schedule as to all their upcoming immunisations – as well as the yearly flu vaccination – to stop the wave of infections that may sweep through early March.
More can be learned by following the CDC as well as E! News in the series “This Is Why We Need to Vaccinate”. Check out the range of information offered here.