Vaccination hesitancy amid Delta variant is putting two groups of people at particular risk, doctor says
US vaccine reluctance has emerged as a persistent problem hampering America's ability to defend itself against the particularly contagious Delta variant in certain parts of the country.
In addition to unvaccinated adults themselves, two population groups are particularly at risk as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increases.
"Children under the age of 12 don't have a vaccine yet," said Dr. Heather Yeo, Associate Professor of Surgery and Health Policy and Research at Weill Cornell Medical College, on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “And there are immunocompromised people who cannot always take vaccines or who have no active response to vaccines. We fear that if other people who have the opportunity are not vaccinated, they will be at risk. "
A man carrying a girl on his shoulders goes to a Chicago Cubs game in Chicago on June 11, 2021. (Photo by Joel Lerner / Xinhua via Getty Images)
According to the latest CDC data, approximately 57.4% of Americans over 12 years of age are fully vaccinated and 66.4% have received at least one dose. President Biden has said he hopes to get a vaccine approved for children under the age of 12 in the coming months.
"It has nothing to do with size," said CDC advisor Dr. William Schaffner told CNN when asked about the differences in vaccines for children and adults. "It all has to do with the maturity of the immune system, and that doesn't correlate one-to-one with the size of the child."
So far, only Pfizer's vaccine (PFE) has been approved for children between the ages of 12 and 18.
"One of the biggest fears is that children are vectors, even though many of them don't get very sick," said Yeo. “They have the potential for transmission, especially in areas where vaccination rates are low. I am lucky. I'm in New York and I think 75% of our population is vaccinated. So we are approaching potential herd immunity for those people who are not vaccinated. "
"You need a host and we are the host"
Younger people have been shown to be less prone to spreading the coronavirus and being less prone to hospitalization and death from infection, although each new variant carries the possibility that the effects on children could change.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children accounted for 16.8% of new confirmed COVID-19 cases for the week ending July 22. (Overall, children make up about 14.2% of all confirmed cases.)
Vaccines have so far been very effective against the worst effects of COVID-19, even during the recent surge in Delta variant cases. And the ongoing transmission of the coronavirus, especially among unvaccinated people, gives the virus more opportunities to continue mutating.
"The more unvaccinated people there are, the greater the likelihood that there will be more variations, [i.e.,] the greater chance that one of those mutations is the one that the vaccines can't protect against," Yeo said. "The more The people we vaccinated, the less likely these viruses will continue to mutate, spread, and become more dangerous."
New precautions are being taken for children before the start of the new school year: the CDC recently issued guidelines that all children or staff in schools should wear masks.
Dr. Yeo hoped that FDA approval for a children's vaccine would come in as soon as possible.
"I think it's really important that we hopefully get something in time for the schools to open up and have more availability for the students to be personal," she said.
Adriana Belmonte is a reporter and policy editor for Yahoo Finance. You can follow her on Twitter @adrianambells and reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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