Trust your doctor
FDA must fast-track COVID vaccine for kids | Column, Aug. 26
I could not agree more with speeding emergency use authorization for younger children. As the column points out, this delay is due more to political caution than science. Since January (pre-delta), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitalization rates for children 5 to 17 years old have decreased. Some, but not all of this, is due to vaccination eligibility and acceptance by a segment of this group. So, expanding eligibility downward matters, but does not tell the whole story. Hospitalization rates for children 4 or younger have increased over this interval. This implies striving to increase vaccination rates for all household members who have children under 17, even if some of the kids remain ineligible.
I suggest that for the school-age segment, schools worry less about masks and more about screening people before they enter (via home antigen testing), putting vaccinators in the drop-off line to make adult vaccination a temptation harder to refuse, and segregating the vaccinated and unvaccinated within schools. Household spread was the dominant mode before vaccination and before delta, and the amped contagiousness of delta both made this more of a concern and decreased the efficacy of masks. Regardless, vaccination outperforms masks 7 to 1.
The column noted something else — off-label vaccination, which should not be skipped over. All along, primary care doctors have been an under-utilized asset in this battle. They are a trusted source able to effectively overcome hesitancy. Pediatricians can vaccinate or arrange vaccination for entire families even if the child is ineligible. And doctors can flexibly apply generic bureaucratic rules to individual needs. On the bubble, age-wise? Thinking of a booster? Go see your doctor.
Pat Byrne, Largo
Be the parent
Schools wait for word on masks | Aug. 26
Let’s just keep this simple, folks. If you want to put a mask on your child and send him to school, please do. Nobody says you can’t. Gov. Ron DeSantis says you can. The school districts say you can. I work as a guardian protecting these little ones. I see a lot of students wearing masks all day, and not one staff member tells them to remove it. So what’s the problem? If you’re waiting for the courts or the government to tell you what to do or how to raise your child, well maybe you shouldn’t have had them in the first place. A little harsh? Well maybe. You are the parent. Be one.
Mark Ewald, Port Richey
Live or die with your choice | Letter, Aug. 26
So why not go a step beyond banning the unvaccinated from hospital care? If you are overweight, if you smoke, if you don’t eat healthfully or if you don’t exercise, should you be denied a hospital bed? We have all been warned about these things for years, right?
Jeff Tsiguloff, Seminole