Today’s TIP News in Review: Georgia moves closer to removing all school vaccine requirements; there’s a new Stealth bug out there; and some tips on how to talk with vaccine-hesitant parents.
Hello, and welcome to TIP News in Review for the week of Jan. 24, 2022. TIP News in Review is a production of The Immunization Partnership. My name is John David Powell.
In today’s TIP News in Review: Georgia moves closer to removing all school vaccine requirements; there’s a new Stealth bug out there; and some tips on how to talk with vaccine-hesitant parents.
Well, let’s start with
Public health folks are always trying to find ways to convince parents to keep their kids up-to-date with their recommended vaccinations. Some researchers at the University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences may have an answer. They used information from the Growing UP in New Zealand study to determine dads can play a strong role in influencing a mom’s health decisions during pregnancy, at least among Kiwis. Also, information from family, friends, and the media was more likely to discourage vaccinations than the info from healthcare sources. That study in the journal Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics.
Here’s some information from
The possibility of deep-sixing school vaccination requirements in Georgia moved closer to the probability column. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Tuesday on a bill introduced in the Georgia Senate that could abolish all school vaccine requirements, such as vaccines against polio, measles, and all the usual suspects. At least 17 Republican senators have signed on to co-sponsor the bill, according to The New Civil Rights Movement, an online news site. The bill started out to block vaccine passports by prohibiting all state agencies from requiring vaccination to obtain services, licenses, or other types of authorization. But some lawmakers and legal experts say the bill is so vaguely written that it would abolish vaccination requirements for kids going to school. One state senator asked if polio had written the bill.
Curb Your Enthusiasm is a popular show on HBO. Cheryl Hines is one of its stars, and we wonder if she’s telling her husband just that: curb your enthusiasm. Her husband? That would be anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who stepped into it big time when he made a reference to Anne Frank, the Holocaust, and Nazis during an anti-vaxx rally Sunday. He’s since apologized, and she took to Twitter to call her husband’s comments reprehensible and insensitive.
Next up . . .
Bloomberg reported Wednesday that COVID’s deadly effects show up long after some patients leave the hospital. That’s according to scientists with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Oxford. They found that hospitalized COVID patients who survived at least a week after going home were more than twice as likely to die or go back into the hospital within months. Their chances of dying in the 10 months after discharge were nearly five times greater than samples taken from the general population. That study in the journal PLoS Medicine.
If you are a Gen Zer or Millennial, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has your number, and you can expect a call. That’s because the CDC smart folks figured out this crowd has a fear greater than COVID. Yeah, the fear of missing out, known as FOMO. And, it’s important that you do not mispronounce it. It’s FOMO. A news release this week from the ad agency Sensis touted its CDC contract that launched in October and focuses on the consequences of trying to travel without getting vaccinated. Besides the generational targets in 19 US cities, the campaign zeroed in on the Black population in those cities. Sensis says its research showed Gen Zers and Millennials didn’t want anyone telling them what to do, they wanted choices, and they wanted to make up their own minds. As for travel, the message sounded like it came from a Rolling Stones song, that any activity you do—going to the movies, flying to a festival—is only a shot away. It’s just a shot away, shot away.
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OK. Let’s walk over to the old teletype and see what’s typing for today’s TIP Tip.
This tip on how to talk with parents who are hesitant about the COVID vaccine for their kids comes from Rupali Limaye. She’s a behavioral and social scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
First, presume the desired behavior, such as getting vaccinated, is the norm. This is called "presumptive communication.” Parents can do this by posting on social media when their own kids get vaccinated or by bringing it up where parents and kids gather.
Next, ask open-ended questions to the doubter, questions like "What worries you” and “How can I help you think through this?" This is called "tailoring" the message to the person.
Third on the list is listen. Listen actively. Turn off your phone. Don’t roll your eyes or cross your arms or look away. Those signal disrespect or defensiveness.
Next, show empathy to build trust. And validate their emotions, without validating their misinformation. So, if someone says the vaccine changes your DNA, say, “That would be really scary. The good news is that no vaccine changes DNA, and I have some science-based information I can share with you.”
And finally, the fifth, debunk misinformation and myths. Limaye says don’t skip straight to this step, though. It doesn’t work that way.
And that’s our weekly TIP Tip. Try it out and let us know if it worked for you.
And that brings us to
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found depression can increase negative bias toward the COVID vaccine. For those keeping score at home, folks with depression were 2.2 times more likely to endorse misinformation. The research also found levels of depression are at least three times higher than they were before the start of the pandemic. That study in the journal JAMA Network Open.
And that brings us to . . .
Don’t look now but there’s another Omicron on the loose. Its real name is BA.2, but you’re going to hear it called Stealth Omicron. It spread to about 40 countries since scientists discovered it back in November. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports researchers at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas identified at least three cases in North Texas to go along with three cases in Houston. Those make up about six percent of the Stealth cases found in the US as of now. That’s 100 cases if you’re trying to figure it out on your calculator. The Omicron that’s been running through folks lately is the older sibling, the BA.1. Thing is, you have to go through genomic sequencing in a special lab to find out if you have it. Can’t do a PCR test, or one of those rapid tests we’ll get in the mail in a few weeks. Researchers say it’s probably no worse than the first Omicron, and both have the same symptoms. That means you can have it, but you won’t lose taste or smell or have shortness of breath or lung damage. Early studies in Denmark show Stealth doesn’t create a higher risk of hospitalization compared to the first Omicron. But it does spread quickly. It made up 20 percent of Denmark’s cases in December and about 65 percent today. Stay tuned.
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We hope you'll join us for our 13th Annual Community Immunity Luncheon on April 6, 2022.
Dr. Jason V. Terk with Cook Children’s Physician Network in Keller, Texas, will receive the Ralph D. Feigin, MD Award for Excellence, and H-E-B will receive the John R. Boettiger, Jr. Award for Community Partnership. We also will honor Venus Ginés with our first Community Immunization Champion Award. She is the CEO and Founder of Dia de la Mujer Latina.
Dr. Brendan Borrell is our keynote speaker. He’s a Los Angeles-based journalist and author who grew up in Texas. He’s the author of The First Shots: The Epic Rivalries and Heroic Science Behind the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccines, a behind-the-scenes look into how we got today’s COVID vaccines.
You can make your reservation and get more information at immunizeusa.org/getinvolved.
That’s our TIP News in Review for today, Jan. 28, 2022.
TIP News in Review is a 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.