COVID and kids: Fall 2022 vaccine and masking updates
October 04, 2022
CHoR nurse wearing mask and checking in mom and patient

    Originally posted October 4, 2022
    Updated October 18, 2022

    COVID and kids: Fall 2022 vaccine and masking updates

    COVID numbers aren’t what they were at the pandemic’s peak, but omicron continues to keep us on our toes. It’s essential we continue taking measures to protect our families and communities.

    Who should get the newest COVID boosters and why?

    “I know everyone is tired of hearing about and dealing with COVID. One of the best ways to protect ourselves, as well as our friends and family, is to stay up to date on vaccinations,” said Dr. Suzanne Lavoie, infectious diseases specialist.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends updated COVID-19 booster shots from Pfizer for people ages 5 years and older and from Moderna for those ages 6 years and older. The updated boosters provide additional protection against the latest variants of COVID-19, making them more effective than previous boosters at protecting against infection and disease. They received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for people 12 and older on August 31 and for kids 5 and older on October 12.

    Are masks still important in preventing the spread of COVID-19?

    The short answer is yes.

    Last month, the CDC updated its COVID-related infection prevention measures based on positivity rates, meaning that universal masking is not required in all areas of low positivity. That said, CHoR serves complex and high-risk patient populations and overall positivity rates remain above 5 percent (with more than 12% positivity among symptomatic patients). To protect patients and team members, we’ll continue to require masking in our hospitals and clinics for the time being.

    COVID isn’t the only foe this time of year.

    “Children are uniquely affected by other respiratory illnesses, including RSV and influenza. We’ve already started seeing influenza A and B and a big jump in RSV,” added Dr. Lavoie. “Masking can help protect against those illnesses too. This is especially important—in health care settings and other public places—as we enter into the winter respiratory virus season.”

    Outside the health care environment, assess your family’s personal situation and mask when you feel it’s appropriate.

    Don’t forget about the flu shot

    Speaking of flu, everyone 6 months and older should get the influenza vaccine—with a few exceptions for the small number of individuals who’ve had severe reactions to the flu vaccine in the past.

    The U.S. flu vaccine is reviewed every year and updated to match circulating flu viruses. If your family hasn’t gotten yours yet, now is the time. It takes a couple weeks for antibodies to develop, then the vaccination will continue providing protection throughout the worst months of the flu season.

    The CDC says it’s safe to get the COVID vaccine at the same time as other immunizations, including the flu shot. If you’d prefer to stagger your child’s COVID and other vaccines, that’s okay! The most important thing is that they get them.

    Where to get vaccines

    COVID vaccines/boosters and flu shots are available at most pharmacies and doctor’s offices. If your child is a CHoR patient, give us a call at (804) 828-CHOR (2467) or request an appointment in the MyChart patient portal.

    Keep up with the latest COVID, flu and vaccine information.

     

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