Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD, MPH, Author at Nemours Blog

POSTED BY:
Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD, MPH

Wait No More: Nearly All Kids Can Now Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

Many parents are breathing a sigh of relief that they can finally get their babies, toddlers, and preschoolers vaccinated against COVID-19. Two brands of the vaccine have now been authorized for children as young as 6 months old, so the little ones can now join the ranks of people ages 5 and up who have helped protect themselves. So does your young child really need a COVID-19 vaccine? After all, younger children often have milder illness when they get infected. The answer is a resounding “yes,” since many young children have had serious symptoms requiring hospitalization, and some have even died. Small children can even develop long COVID, with symptoms that bother them for a long time. Parents might also wonder why it took so long for the vaccines to be authorized for this age group. It took a long time to get the vaccines authorized for young children because […]

What to Do During the Baby Formula Shortage

You may have noticed a shortage of baby formula on store shelves these days. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused supply chain and staffing issues, and a recent recall of baby formula due to contaminated products from one factory has added to the problem. If you are formula feeding your baby, you may worry about how you will continue to feed your little one. Here are some tips on how to navigate the baby formula shortage. What to do: Talk to your baby’s doctor, who may have some sample cans of formula available. You can also call a local hospital, breast milk bank, or office of WIC (the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children). Women’s shelters, food banks, and faith-based organizations might also be able to help. Shop around. Try other stores that you may not have visited in the past, especially smaller independent grocery stores, pharmacies, […]

Omicron Is Spreading: Why You Shouldn’t Shrug It Off

Omicron Is Spreading: Why You Shouldn’t Shrug It Off

It’s hard to believe that we are about to start our third pandemic year. We had all hoped that by now COVID-19 would be a thing of the past and life would be getting back to normal. Instead, a variant called omicron is quickly spreading. Lots of people are getting infected from this new variant, and hospitals are filling up. Many people are feeling frustrated and defeated. If you are one of them, it might be tempting to give in and just drop your guard completely. After all, lots of people are saying that the symptoms of omicron are usually mild, and it feels like everyone will eventually get COVID-19 anyway, right? Not so fast. There are a few important things to consider. If everyone gets sick at the same time, lots of people will need the hospital at once. That isn’t safe. The more crowded the hospitals are, the […]

Questions About Omicron Abound: What’s a Parent to Do?

Questions About Omicron Abound: What’s a Parent to Do?

The media is full of news about omicron, a new coronavirus variant. A variant is a version of the virus that is a little different from the original virus. Variants can look different or behave differently from the original virus. For example, they can differ in how contagious they are, how sick they make people, and how they respond to vaccines and medicines. We are still learning about how the omicron variant differs from the coronavirus that we are already familiar with. While we wait for health experts to study the data about omicron, some parents are wondering whether they should vaccinate their child as soon as possible, or whether they should wait and see how things develop with this new variant. What Do We Know? The answer is that all children ages 5 and older should get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. Here is why we […]

Gathering Safely for the 2021 Holidays

Gathering Safely for the 2021 Holidays

As the holidays approach, you might have mixed feelings. On the one hand, who isn’t excited about gathering with family and friends for traditional holiday meals and celebrations? On the other, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and you might be worried the coronavirus will spread even more as people gather for festivities. Fortunately, you and your family members can reduce the risk of getting infected with coronavirus. Virtual gatherings are still the safest way to get together. But if your family will be meeting other families in person this year, the CDC has provided tips for keeping safe as we celebrate: Get vaccinated. The best way to protect people both young and old from getting very sick or even dying from COVID-19 is to vaccinate everyone who is eligible. This includes everyone ages 5 and up. And for people over 18 who are already fully vaccinated, a booster shot […]

Is the Lower-Dose COVID-19 Vaccine OK for my Child?

Is the Lower-Dose COVID-19 Vaccine OK for my Child?

This week brought big news for kids and families. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is finally authorized for kids ages 5 to 11 years. The vaccine has been studied in thousands of kids in this age group and has been found to be safe and effective. It is given as two shots, spaced three weeks apart. The main difference between the vaccine for kids younger than 12 and those older than 12 is the dose, which is lower for younger children than for teens and adults. Studies have shown that younger kids have very strong immune systems that react just as well to lower doses of certain vaccines. An added bonus of lower dosing is that it can result in fewer side effects following the vaccine (such as chills and fever). Parents Have Questions About Vaccine Dose The lower dosage for younger children has confused some parents. They might wonder whether […]

Have No Fear, Summer Is Almost Here -And a Little Caution Will Do

Have No Fear, Summer Is Almost Here – And a Little Caution Will Do

Your family may have canceled or shuffled summer plans during the height of the pandemic in 2020, hoping for a more exciting summer this year. So, as vaccination efforts ramp up and more of the U.S. population becomes fully vaccinated, you might be wondering what this summer has in store for your children. Will the family be able to travel? Will unvaccinated children be able to visit their grandparents? What about summer camp? It’s not entirely clear what direction the pandemic will take over the next few months. Experts are recommending we keep our guard up until more is known about how the vaccine efforts stand up against the coronavirus and its new variants. But kids can plan for a great summer, as long as families keep these points in mind: Weigh benefits versus risks.  As a family, try to assess your plans objectively. Flying with unvaccinated kids to a crowded […]

Covid-19: 5 Reasons Not to Let Your Guard Down Now

Covid-19: 5 Reasons Not to Let Your Guard Down Now

We have been living with COVID-19 for over a year. While there is a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, we haven’t reached it yet. More than 30 million Americans have been infected with coronavirus, and the number of people getting infected each day is rising again. Experts are concerned about a new surge. With vaccines finally becoming widely available, it is tempting to leave the pandemic behind and get back to “normal” life. But public health and medical professionals say “not yet.” We need to keep our guard up just a little longer until it is clearer that we are winning the battle against coronavirus. Here are a few reasons why we still need to be cautious: Not enough people have been vaccinated yet. The vaccines available in the United States are safe and very good at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. But only […]

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