Make An Informed Decision For Your Child
Hi, I’m Dr. Chad Larson. As a healthcare provider, I’m obligated to educate and inform my patients about various health-related decisions. When we diagnose a condition, we come up with a list of therapies to consider. Then we need to discuss all the information to facilitate informed consent, and discuss all the things they need to learn about each of these therapies and treatments so that they can make an informed decision. That’s really what it’s all about.
I’m sure you’ve heard recently that the Pfizer vaccine was approved for children ages five to eleven. So I put together some information, all of which can be found on the CDC website, that people should know so they can make an informed decision about what to do with their kids.
Making decisions for ourselves is one thing, but it’s kind of a separate question whether or not we should make the same decisions for our kids.
Because it’s likely that the vaccine approval is the first step in a process that could lead to mandates for kids of certain age groups to get vaccinated before they’re allowed to attend school. So this information is meant to provide you with more data so you can make informed decisions.
One of the things to think about are the death statistics for children. These data come from the CDC website. Among children aged one to four, there have been 63 deaths. Now, each death of someone’s child is completely tragic, it’s horrible. But you know if you consider the statistics, those make up about .0087 percent of all the deaths from Covid. Among ages five to fifteen there have been about 172 deaths at the time of this recording, which represents about .0238 percent. Obviously it’s fortunate that the death statistics for kids are very low.
Now, how about hospitalizations? Kids zero to four represent about .07 percent of those who have been hospitalized in total. And ages five to seventeen are about 1.1 percent. So by and large, they aren’t a significant component of the death and hospitalization statistics. In fact, according to the CDC website, 16 to 50 percent of the pediatric population that have been infected have been asymptomatic. Asymptomatic means no symptoms. So up to 50 percent of the pediatric population that have been tested show elevated antibodies but have never been sick from Covid. Why that statistic is striking is because they were exposed to the virus and their immune system acted appropriately by making some antibodies. And statistics are coming from multiple sources around the world suggesting that natural immunity to the virus is considerably more robust than vaccine induced immunity.
-Dr. Chad Larson
“Should I vaccinate my child?”
Part of the decision making process that parents have to go through is “should I vaccinate my child.” And maybe your data-gathering process should include testing their titers. What are titers? The whole concept of titers was a very common thing pre-Covid. This is something that’s been practiced in medicine for a very long time. People would ask, “should I get vaccinated against this or that pathogen or condition,” And their doctor might say, “I don’t know, let’s check your titers and see.” Titers are antibody levels that indicate the degree of immunity you have to a particular pathogen, like a virus or something similar. And if the titers are at a certain level, if there’s a certain amount of antibodies already present, then the answer is, “no, you don’t need to get the vaccine because you already have sufficient antibodies, either from a past vaccination or a past exposure to that particular pathogen.” So, it’s somewhat interesting that this is not really a thing out there. But it could be and I think it’s something that parents should consider.
That’s just one simple thing, and there are lots of other more complex things to consider. But as an idea, get your child’s antibodies tested to see where they’re at, to see the necessity of getting vaccinated. Because if somebody, and especially a child, has natural immunity, you’d really want to think about whether they really need the vaccine. And like I said, statistics around the world suggest that the natural immune response is more robust than the vaccine-induced immune response.
It’s all just data. It really doesn’t matter on what side you fall and what you end up doing, but the idea is that you really want to make an informed decision. So in that regard, there’s something that I wanted to share here. I’m holding my computer and I’m looking at an email that was sent from my kids’ school district. I think the title of it was something like “Covid and Flu Preparedness” and it included a list of places to get tested and it outlined the kinds of things they’re doing at the school to prepare, and so forth. And down at the end of the email there’s a section called “what you can do to stay healthy” and I want to go through their list of things you can do to stay healthy. This email was sent to parents to disseminate information that they can take into consideration for the students. So I’ll just read you the list.
“Covid and Flu Preparedness” List:
- Regular hand washing
- Use hand sanitizer
- Stay away from sick people
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
- Clean commonly touched surfaces
- Keep holiday gatherings small
- If you are sick stay home and avoid contact with others
These are all fairly sensible public health tips. But the title of this section is what I want to highlight. It’s titled “what you can do to stay healthy” but that isn’t really factually accurate. Sure, those things are good for decreasing your exposure to a virus, but staying healthy is something that happens internally in the system based on things we can do in our life.
For example, we’ve talked about it before and it’s especially true with regard to kids, their immune systems are really eager to support the body and decrease the chance of infections delving deeper into their system. As we can see in the statistics of Covid, thankfully, kids are really quite immune from this. It seems to pick on people who have compromised immune systems and the elderly and things like that. Fortunately, the statistics we’re seeing are not super over-concerning for kids. But this email is not a list of things to help them stay healthy.
What we have to do to stay healthy is to optimize sleep. We can’t overstate how important adequate sleep is to the immune system. That and choosing the right foods, making healthy food choices. We made a video about it recently, though it was geared more toward adults. But I want to emphasize how important this is for kids, too. The holidays are coming up and there will be more sweets and sugary foods around. They’re just more common during the holiday season. But this is the season to check that a bit. I’m not saying zero treats for the kids, but just be conscious of the amount of sugar they’re consuming. Because this is what can make kids unhealthy. Even a single exposure to sugar can inhibit their immune system function for several hours. So, be very careful about that and avoid it as much as you can. Choose healthy anti-inflammatory foods. You know what those are. You really want to stay away from fast food and processed stuff, and feature more healthy natural foods.
Let Kids Play
Also, let the kids play. You’ve got to let them get outside and play. And obviously it doesn’t have to be perfect weather. We’re coming into fall and winter, but they still need to get out and move. Movement and exercise and playing are vital for their immune system; there’s fantastic science and statistics behind it.
So those are just a few really basic things we can do to stay healthy, especially for kids. They need to optimize sleep, so you should check their device use at night. That can really cut into quality sleep time. Make sure that the majority of their diet is natural whole foods. And you gotta play, you gotta move, you gotta get exercise. These three strategies are cheap; they’re free basically. And they’re very profound when it comes to the immune system.
Again, as part of my job, I’m obligated to discuss this information. I’ve been asked this already by lots of patients, so I thought I’d just put this out there for everyone. Thought I’d put some statistics from the CDC behind it and help you to make an informed decision about what to do going forward. So, hopefully this is helpful. I will keep reading the studies and bringing you the information. Until then, keep it real.