LOUISVILLE (Ky.) -- Cadell Walker rushed Solome, her 9-year old daughter, to get COVID-19 vaccinated -- not only to protect her, but also to stop the coronavirus spreading and spawning more dangerous variants.
The 40-year old Louisville mom said that her family believes in loving thy neighbor and that she wants to model this behavior for her daughter. Solome was recently sent to middle school to get her shot. "All of us must work together to beat COVID.
Scientists are unanimous in their conclusion. Scientists agree. These opportunities are limited by the need to protect a large portion of the population around the globe.
This effort was rewarded with 28 million U.S. children aged 5-11 years now eligible to receive child-sized doses Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Moving elsewhere, such as Austria's recent decision to all adults be vaccinated, and even the U.S. authorizing booster shot for all adults on Friday help to reduce the chance of new infections.
Vaccinating children also reduces silent spread since most people have mild or no symptoms when they contract it. Scientists say the virus spreads unabated when it is not seen. As more people get it, the chances of getting new versions increase.
David O'Connor, a University of Wisconsin-Madison virology expert, compares infecting to "lottery tickets that are being given the virus." This variant is even more dangerous than the contagious Delta currently in circulation.
He said that the virus is more likely to spread to people with weak immune systems and those who have been infected for a while.
Researchers disagree about how much children have affected the course of the pandemic. Early research showed that they did not contribute to the spread of the pandemic. However, some experts believe that children played an important role in spreading contagious variants like alpha and beta this year.
According to the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling hub, which is a consortium of universities and medical research organisations that compiles models of the potential pandemic, getting kids vaccinated could be a big help. According to the hub's most recent estimates, vaccinations of 5- to 11-year olds could prevent approximately 430,000 COVID cases from the U.S. overall population. Katriona Shea, project leader at Pennsylvania State University, said that if a variant half as transmissible as delta emerged in late fall, 860,000 COVID cases could be avoided.
Delta is still the dominant strain, accounting for over 99% of all analyzed coronavirus specimens from the United States. Scientists don't know why. Johns Hopkins University infectious disease expert Dr. Stuart Campbell Ray said that it could be intrinsically more infective or may have evaded at least some of the vaccines and/or been infected previously.
He said that it was likely a combination of these things. "But there is also growing evidence that delta may be more fit than other varieties, which means that it can grow faster than any other variants being studied. People who get delta become more infectious faster.
Ray stated that delta is a "big family" of viruses and that the world is currently swimming in a kind of "delta soup."
Ray stated that there are many linesages of delta that circulate in many places, with no clear winners. Ray also said that it is difficult to determine which genetic features might give an advantage or which non-delta variations might overthrow delta.
Ray stated, "It's like looking at a car parked along the side of the road with race slicks and stripes and an airfoil in the back and a large engine." It looks great and could be a contender. But, until you see it racing with other cars on the track, you won't know if you're going to win.
Another unknown is that dangerous variants could still be present in parts of the globe where there are not enough vaccines. They may also make their way to America as American children become vaccinated.
Walker, the Louisville mom, stated that she and her husband cannot do anything about distant threats but could sign their daughter up at Jefferson County Public Schools sites this weekend. Solome, an adopted child from Ethiopia, is susceptible to pneumonia after developing respiratory problems as a result of being exposed to tuberculosis while she was a baby.
She stated that she wanted to make sure other children are safe, because it's "not good to get sick."
Walker held Solome's hand as a nurse approached to give her shot. She then praised Solome for choosing a post-jab sticker that was appropriate for a brave child who did her part in reducing a pandemic.
Walker declared, "Wonder Woman." "Perfect."