Written by By Jane Alvarez, CNN
The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the percentage of COVID-19 hospitalizations following vaccination of children in kindergarten, first grade and seventh grade has been increasing since its introduction by US health officials in 2003.
And that, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has to do with a lack of confidence among parents in vaccinating their children with the pneumococcal vaccine — known as Pneumovax19.
More than 70 million doses of Pneumovax19 have been administered, but many parents still opt for the lower-dose combination vaccine administered prior to infection, primarily to protect against Group A Streptococcus (which causes strep throat).
And now, Fauci says, those parents who are choosing to refuse the Pneumovax19 vaccine are sending their children to college or school while some may be exposed to the pneumococcal vaccine, which can lead to serious illness or even death.
The need for health officials to address this issue was made clear during this year’s Winter Solstice Visitor Jam in Vancouver.
“A pertussis-like illness that has been ongoing all year in our South Asian community and at some of our Asian schools and schools where parents are making other decisions,” says Dr. Betsan Nott, a health epidemiologist with the Public Health Agency of Canada, which facilitated the event.
“The first signs of the disease are five to seven days after exposure, and within those five to seven days, symptoms might include high fever, a dry cough, elevated mucus levels, and often, characteristic “clumps” of mucus that are hard to remove. Some individuals develop jaundice as a result of yellowing of the skin and eyes, but most do not.
“(It’s) a nasty disease, and very easily transmitted, particularly to individuals who are affected by this illness, which can’t be transmitted by the air.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) sets a limit for pertussis (aka pertussis) outbreaks at 68 cases per 100,000 people. The US CDC suggests that “requiring school or daycare students who are non-viable or hospitalized for pertussis-associated complications to be fully vaccinated against the disease if possible will help to reduce pertussis epidemics in the United States.”