Dr. Rai talks COVID boosters, timeline on shots for kids
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Health officials could be poised to approve more COVID-19 booster shots and vaccinations for young children in the coming weeks.
Prevea Health President & CEO Dr. Ashok Rai joined us on Action 2 News This Morning to give us the timeline on these developments.
“Right now, I’d say as a country, we’re starting to see case volume and hospitalizations go down. As the state of Wisconsin, our cases per 100,000 are also trending down. Locally here, unfortunately in Brown County and to the north, we still continue to trend a little higher. Hoping that will start to follow the state statistics and national statistics. As far as hospitalizations, still pretty high locally. Continue to hang high, and we would like to see that trend down here soon, too. Really hoping it will.”
“So the FDA approved both Moderna, at a half a dose, and J&J, to both be approved boosters last week. I think we have to remember that the FDA is only step one, that we still have to go through the CDC, and those meetings happen over the next couple of days. As far as if you’re trying to schedule your booster, I would start to predict early next week is when you’ll be able to do that if you’re looking for Moderna or J&J. But once again, as you mentioned, you can get the Pfizer booster today. It only is available, though, for certain people: those who are older; those who are immune compromised; those who work in high risk situations--such as those in health care, law enforcement, grocery, education. It’s a long list of people that are eligible, but make sure to check that you’re on that list.”
“It was in the conversation Friday when the FDA reviewed the literature. Didn’t come out with any forceful statement on Friday in favor of it. Did start to say that yesterday. Yes it is going to be complicated--especially going to be complicated for us that have to vaccinate, when you schedule your vaccine, which one to give you, which one is available that day. Expect that to be sorted out by the CDC this week, as well. Then how we operationalize that, we’ll figure that out here this week to get live hopefully next week.”
VACCINES FOR KIDS
“Now we know the meeting dates, so that’s really important. We know the dates that at the end of the October that the FDA is going to meet. We know that that first week in November the CDC is going to meet. If both of those bodies approve vaccines, remember it’s for children 5-11. We’re only looking at Pfizer, so it’s important to remember there’s more meetings to happen on the other vaccinations. So 5-11 for Pfizer, we should start to hopefully get approval by the first week of November. Realistically, because it’s a different dose, it’s actually a different vial for a different cover on it for kids, that it’s going to take some time to get that shipped to us. Most of that ordering is starting now in anticipation of approval, but approval needs to happen first. Got to make sure it’s safe and that it works. Probably anywhere between Nov. 8 and 15 is when you’ll start to see the first shots here in Brown County.
“Let’s take for example, if I have a 4-year-old that’s say, it’s 4 years and 360 days, you have to wait that five days. You really do have to wait until you’re 5-years-old. That’s what happens when the FDA gives you an emergency use authorization. As providers, we cannot use an off label. We cannot vary by that, so we have to make sure that child is 5. The bigger question is what if I have an 11-year-old that’s going to turn 12? If they’re going to turn 12 between the two shots--it’s a three-week spread--then wait until they’re 12. If it’s awhile before they turn 12, get them vaccinated now. Once again, if their birthday is going to fall in that three-week time period, the best suggestion is to wait a couple of weeks and make sure they get that larger dose, the more adult dose, because they’ll have the body for it at age 12.”
COLIN POWELL DEATH
“Obviously saddened by Gen. Powell’s death. I think a lot of people have focused that he passed away from COVID, which he did, per the reports, and that he was vaccinated. It’s also important to understand that Gen. Powell was suffering from multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the immune system. That’s why the rest of us need to get vaccinated. It’s to protect that immune-compromised person that’s likely not going to have a good response to the vaccine. We may not know who that is in our neighborhood, in our office. It’s important for the rest of us who have good immune systems to get vaccinated, to create protection around patients and citizens like Gen. Powell.”
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