Today’s TIP News: FDA authorizes COVID boosters for kids 12 to 15; Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital sees 4-fold increase in children hospitalized with COVID; Texas Lt. Gov gets COVID; flu cases rise as predicted; and a word about Abigail Adams.
Hello, and welcome to TIP News for Jan. 4, 2022. TIP News is a podcast production of The Immunization Partnership. My name is John David Powell.
In today’s TIP News: The Food and Drug Administration authorizes COVID boosters for kids 12 to 15; Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital sees a four-fold increase in children hospitalized with COVID; Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gets COVID; flu cases rise as predicted; and we’ll remember Abigail Adams and smallpox.
We begin today with the FDA emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine booster for kids 12-15 years of age. That means everyone over the age of 12, including adults, can get booster shots.
The FDA also reduced from six months to five months the time between completing the initial series of shots and getting the booster.
This comes as more kids are showing up in hospitals around the country. Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital is the country’s largest pediatric hospital and it saw a four-fold increase in childhood COVID hospitalizations over the past two weeks, more than 700 kids hospitalized during one 24-hour period.
Dr. Jim Versalovic is Texas Children’s pathologist-in-chief. He told CNN that Omicron was responsible for 90 percent of the cases. He also said his hospital shattered COVID admission records set back in August during the Delta surge.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Department of Health and Human Services show national pediatric hospital admissions reached a record high last week, more than the 2020 holiday surge and the Delta surge during this past summer and fall.
The CDC says cumulative hospitalization rates through November are about eight times higher for unvaccinated adults and about 10 times higher for unvaccinated children ages 12 to 17.
And we began the new year with a new record. More than one million new reported COVID cases in a single day. A total of 1,082,549 reported Monday, for those keeping score at home.
Texans are not being left behind. No sir. The Texas Department of State Health Services, or DSHS, says Omicron continues to drive up new cases. More than 7,000 Texans hospitalized with COVID as of Jan. 3. That’s more than twice the number a couple of weeks ago.
Dr. Jason Bowling is an epidemiologist at University Health in San Antonio. He told the Texas Tribune that Omicron appears to be as contagious as the measles, and even a milder version could wind up sending more folks to the hospital than during previous surges. He says that’s simply due to the high volume of folks infected.
We now know Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is one of them, but we’re only finding out during his quarantine. A senior advisor says Patrick had mild symptoms and tested positive last week. Apparently, Patrick didn’t think to tell anyone outside his household and political circles until he tested negative and was well on his way to completing his quarantine period.
By the way, Patrick tweeted in November that he got jabbed and encouraged others to do their own research. No encouragement to get vaccinated, though.
Moving to the flu. The CDC says flu is on the rise, again. This matters because of the millions of Americans vulnerable to flu and COVID.
So, here are some tips from TIP on how you can determine if you have flu or COVID. Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is the former Detroit health director. He told CNN to think about your exposure risk. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID, your symptoms could be COVID.
Loss of smell and taste are specific to COVID and often mean you’re infected. The Omicron variant often leads to a headache.
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again. Get your flu shots, COVID shots, or boosters as soon as you can, if you can. If you haven’t gotten your flu shot, you’re not alone. The Associated Press reports fewer of us have received their flu shot compared to this time last year. Not good for any of us.
Finally today, more proof that everything old is new again. Back in 1776, smallpox raged through the Colonies. The future US didn’t have a government to mandate anything, but that didn’t stop future First Lady Abigail Adams who took her four small kids on a10-mile trek to Boston to get everyone inoculated. No mandate needed. She knew it was the right thing to do. And it still is.
That’s our TIP News for today, Jan. 4, 2022.
TIP News is a podcast production of The Immunization Partnership. We invite you to subscribe to our podcasts, Vaxx Voice, which deals with vaccines in general, and Vaxx to the Future, where we feature information specifically related to COVID-19 and its vaccines. You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. You can also find more information on our webpage, immunizeusa.org. For all of us at The Immunization Partnership, I’m John David Powell. Thanks for listening.