The University of Kansas Health System reports a slight decrease in the number of COVID patients today. There are 18 patients with the active virus are being treated, down from 22 yesterday and only three are vaccinated. There are 8 patients are in the ICU, also down from 9 yesterday. None of the ICU patients are fully vaccinated. Five are on ventilators, up from four yesterday. Twenty-three other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID, but are out of the acute infection phase, down from 25 yesterday. That’s a total of 43 patients, down from 47 yesterday. HaysMed reports seven active COVID patients.
On today’s Morning Medical Update, Amanda Cackler, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at The University of Kansas Health System, joined Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control to answer community questions.
Here are the media and community questions in the order the panel addressed them, followed by the short answer. The time code for the question is in parentheses. See the video for their full answers and comments.
- (4:44) Pfizer came out saying it’s shot for kids is 91 percent effective, what’s your reaction? It’s consistent with other effectiveness rates. It’s good news. We know that they’re safe and they’re important to help keep people well.
- (7:16) Anything people should bring/need to know with the booster process? There really should be nothing different around this.
- (8:56) When will the Health System begin administering boosters? We should be ready by next week.
- (9:56) Should we be concerned about the new variant? We have the technological ability to sequence so many viruses and can identify variants. This is showing up in the UK, but we don’t know if an increase in cases is due to the variant or the loosening of restrictions.
- (12:11) How soon after the shot do you think kids will get good protection from COVID? It will be very similar to adults – a couple weeks after the first dose. The second dose will provide maximum protection.
- (14:33) What impact do you think the White House urging parents to get their kids vaccinated will have on the overall willingness to do so? We’re trying to improve the safety of children and we hope parents agree. This isn’t politics, this is pure medicine and science. Our main focus is keeping people out of the hospital.
- (16:39) For people receiving Regeneron treatment, do they still need a booster shot? It means you’ve had the infection, so you probably should still get the booster, but you need to wait at least 90 days.
- (17:48) How important is it for older adults to get the whooping cough vaccine? It’s a very good question. The tetanus vaccine includes pertussis and whooping cough and adults should make sure they are vaccinated.
- (18:57) Is the hospital accepting transfers? Yes, but when capacity issues arise, we haven’t been able to accept all, but we are able to accept transfers now.
- (19:51) Does getting just one mRNA shot provide any protection at all? Even one provides better protection, and some is better than none at all. It’s not as optimum as the two-dose regimen.
- (20:50) Why do people only get one shot? It can be a number of reasons, but two shots are recommended and those who are eligible should get the booster.
- (21:11) Does the vaccine cause heart palpitations? There really has not been any evidence of a problem of heart palpitations weeks after getting the vaccine.
- (22:00) Any correlation with blood types and COVID patients that need to be put on a ventilator? We do believe there are genetic components to how people react to COVID. But there’s a lot of complexity. There’s no evidence of how blood types react.
- (23:22) Can you compare potency of Pfizer and Moderna doses? We know that there were trials looking at different doses and antibody levels. They are really about the same in their ability to develop an immune response.
- (24:02) Why don’t doctors check antibodies on a child before vaccinating them? There is no correlation between antibody tests and the need for a vaccine. What we know very well is that the vaccine provides very good immunity, especially against other variants. Antibody tests are not the full picture of immunity.
- (28:45) Can you get too much vaccine? No. The vaccines are safe.
- (29:35) If you had whooping cough as a child, do you need a vaccine as an adult? Immunity wanes as an adult, so vaccinations as older adults are recommended.
- (30:06) When do you think boosters will be available for all of us? Probably coming soon.
- (30:30) How long does it take the booster to take full effect? About two weeks after the booster is pretty typical for a full effect.
- (32:12) Are there any vaccines you recommend over others if you have an autoimmune disorder? Talk to your doctor about the best choice, but generally all the vaccines are safe.
- (33:11) The booster is still only for those over 65 and those who are immunocompromised, correct? Generally, yes. But for those who are immunocompromised, talk with your doctor.
- (34:20) Will we need a booster shot every year for COVID-19? It’s unclear. Will three total doses be enough for long-term immunity? We just don’t know yet.
- (35:58) Will kids today have to worry about getting shingles since we have the chicken pox vaccination? We believe the immunity is better with the vaccine for chicken pox and shingles later in life. It is currently only recommended for people 50 and older.
- (37:24) Is a tingling feeling after getting the Pfizer booster normal? We have seen some examples of that, but it seems to be part of normal side effects that are typical. It should be very short term.
- (38:22) Is the booster a full dose or a half dose? If it’s the Pfizer, it’s the full dose. For Moderna, it is half of the initial dosing.
- (39:17) Important to still wear eyewear to protect against COVID infections on an airplane? Yes, in addition to masking, eye protection can still help prevent infections.
- (40:17) Is you had shingles as a child, should you get a shingles shot? Shingles is the manifestation of chicken pox. As an adult over 50, you should get the shingles vaccine, even if you had chicken pox as a kid.
- (42:37) Is there a better response to delaying the booster? We know that the dosing schedule has been shown to be safe and effective.
- (43:35) Can you get shingles because of the vaccine? It is hard to draw an association with that.
- (44:08) What kind of protection will kids 5-11 have while they are waiting for second dose? You will have some immunity develop after 10-12 days.
Providing final thoughts, Cackler suggested not letting your guard down with cooler weather. “As fall weather approaches, and people move indoors, use safe practices to avoid virus spread,” she said. Dr. Hawkinson added that people should think about getting your other vaccines: flu, shingles, tetanus, whooping cough.
Monday, October 25 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. Dr. Anne O’Dea, Medical Oncologist at The University of Kansas Health System will be the guest with Lauryn Werner, KU Med Student, to share a unique story about how the student became part of her own cancer research.