Jennifer writes:

Hi, Dr. Griffin!

I enjoy listening to the quotes you share in each clinical update, and just encountered one that I thought might resonate with you during the pandemic moment in which we find ourselves:

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

-Maria Robinson*

*provenance of the quote is uncertain, but this is how I encountered it in the book Unwinding Anxiety (Brewer)

With all good wishes and appreciation for your helpful updates,


Sarah writes:

Hello!  On Friday you said “Chance of death in unvaccinated 1 in 30.  Chance of death in vaccinated 1 in a million.”  I find this a very compelling and reassuring thing to tell people about how great vaccines are, in light of inevitable ‘breakthru’ infections.  But I first want to understand the numbers it is based upon.  For example, is this of people who test positive?  Or some other categorization?  Is there a particular data source?

Take Care, 


Julie writes:

Hello Daniel and Vincent,

I live in a part of rural Colorado where rates of COVID-19 are very high right now and hospitals are full.  The county vaccination rate is about 30%.  Mis-information is rampant here.  Just yesterday I met a parent of a student at my daughter’s school who told me she knew “many” people who had died from the mRNA vaccines for SARS COV-2.   She also told me she had recently gotten covid and “cured” herself by taking Ivermectin.  Neither she nor her son will be getting vaccinated.   The school administrator told me there are parents who do not want their children around vaccinated kids because they believe the vaccine will give their kids covid.  Virtually no one is wearing masks and everything is open.  

The same day the CDC came out with guidelines for school opening, our county came out with their own school re-opening plan.  No vaccinations of any kind are required, and no distancing/masking etc.  are required.  There will be no remote options for any students.  

My family is fully vaccinated, including my 12-year-old daughter and we have no underlying health conditions.  Still, I am struggling with how to navigate school for her this year.   She has had a year and a half with little social interaction and few opportunities to develop friendships.   According to county data, about 14% of 12-15 year olds in the county are vaccinated.  

Would you send your child to school under these conditions, even fully vaccinated?  Is it worthwhile for her to wear a mask even if other kids are not?  There are social consequences for masking at school.   I would greatly appreciate any advice in navigating this situation.  I am finding it more difficult than last year because I feel alone in my concerns.  

Thanks so much for all you and the rest of the TWIV team do.  You have all literally been lifesavers.  


Laurel writes:

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for this episode and your ongoing positive attitude. I had been inspired by many things recently, and today your quotes from Juliette Gordon Low made me reach out to my unvaccinated friends and try and be the inspiration. I have been unable to talk to them or see them, due mostly to my anger at their attitude and seeming selfishness, plus some fear for my health and theirs. My family and I are all double-vaccinated, but I am also an ER and family doc, and have two nieces who are two young to vaccinate, and their mom is highly covid-nervous.

My question is: am I being over-reactive about not seeing my friends? I have now offered to walk with them and listen to their vaccine fears, and will try to direct them to TWiV and the open forums if they will go there.

Thanks for all you do!


Madeline writes:

Daniel, I lead the testing program at a large university. We are seeing increased cases as others are nationally. Over 50% are vaccine breakthrough and viral loads in these cases are high (CTs under 20). Is there any quality data on viral loads in vaccine breakthrough? These would appear to be very infectious cases!

Scott writes:

Dear Daniel and Vincent, 

I am a Maine primary care doc who has written before, and you both wrote back recently when I complained – gently I hope – about primary care doctors sometimes getting a bad rap.   Thank you. 

My daughter,  a 29-year-old artist/social worker student who lives in Queens, flew here to visit us Friday evening two days ago and mentioned briefly, barely, quietly, right before we went out to a dinner reservation here in Maine that she thought she might have a slight cold. I’m sure you know where this is going.  I tested her in my office with our rapid antigen test and she was quickly positive, twice. We have all been vaccinated with the Pfizer, and I’m assuming she has the Delta variant.

I’m writing for two reasons:

First, despite having Lynch Syndrome and Celiac Sprue and a few other autoimmune problems she’s not a candidate for monoclonals.   However, being an anxious father I called around speaking with infectious disease doctors here in Maine and a couple of different hospitals and EDs. Just as an FYI, nobody knew much of anything about monoclonals, even my local very nice and helpful infectious disease doctors he mostly takes care of inpatients.  Some of the ER docs and nursing supervisors and pharmacists had not heard of them, and asked me only if I meant remdesivir.   The Maine CDC, who I contacted to do my due diligence, told me that monoclonal’s are only used for inpatients. I corrected them.   Eventually I did find one outpatient facility, about 45 minutes away where the current monoclonal cocktail is available, just in case my wife and I get sick.

Second, I wrote a letter yesterday and sent it to the Portland Press Herald, and New York Times, mostly about the experience and about the Delta “variant” and vaccinations.   I think I plagiarized your line, “vaccinations are how we will end this pandemic.”   I think that is your line but I’m not completely sure, so I thought I would turn myself in.

Thank you, the letter probably won’t get published anyways, but thank you as always, for everything both of you do.   My work partner and I still depend on your Podcasts.

Scott Schiff-Slater, MD
Hallowell, Maine

Emily writes:

Dear Dr. Griffin,

I’m part of a group making decisions about Covid protocols for a non-profit that hosts several events per week for medium-sized groups (up to thirty people).  We are in a county where the CDC says current community transmission is low, but all the counties surrounding us are categorized as having moderate community transmission, so I suspect our status may change soon.

Right now, our mask policy is that unvaccinated people are asked to wear masks.  Also, if someone wants to come to an event who is immunocompromised or who medically cannot be vaccinated or who is too young to be vaccinated, we will have all present wear masks upon that person’s request.

Here’s my question.  Some members of my group think that we do not need to change our policies, even if community transmission goes up, because almost everyone who comes to our events is vaccinated (at least 95%) and because those who are not are masked.  The sense is that vaccinated individuals can make their own decisions about whether they want to risk the relatively mild illness that comes with symptomatic Covid after vaccination.  My sense is that there might be a threshold of community transmission at which we should require masks regardless, not because of the risk to individuals present but because of the risk to the broader community if the virus is likely to be transmitting, even from one vaccinated person to another, at our events.

What does the science actually say about this?  To what degree are we introducing risk to the broader community now, with rates of the virus being very low in our geographic area?  To what degree would we be introducing risk to the broader community if the rates go up in our geographic area?

Chuck writes:


What are your thoughts on the possibility/ likelihood of long-covid complications in those whose infection to COVID19 came after they were fully vaccinated? 

Would this data play a role in determining the need for masking in vaccinated individuals?


Contract Tracer,
District 4, Georgia Department of Public Health  

Elysia writes:

Hello Daniel, and fellow Floating Doctor. I am an internist,  I met you in Panama, now about 2 years ago, when you helped me with my presentation.  As the pandemic has eased, I have thought of going back to Panama to work with Floating Doctors and I am scheduled to leave at the end of August.  Is this wise, given that central America is a covid hot spot right now. Would it be more sensible to defer a few months?

My particulars,  age 63, healthy, fully vaccinated, with Moderna vaccinations in early February and early March. I am concerned about potential for exposure in enclosed spaces such as airports and airline cabins. I understand that I likely will not get serious covid, however, I would prefer no covid. Can we quantify or ballpark risk in this scenario. 

Thank you and all the best

Jen writes:

Hi Daniel,

I continue to watch your updates weekly! I am very grateful for your dedication to supporting the community and health care workers as we continue to navigate through this pandemic. 

My children were virtual for school last year. We live in a school district that gave two options: virtual or full in-person learning. As a multigenerational household, the choice was clear last year. My boys did great.  All of us but my 10 year old vaccinated, so we are planning for in person school this year. Our school district has already said that masks will be optional for students and staff this fall. My son will certainly be masking, however how much protection will this offer him if the majority are not masking? They also have said no cohorts and there will be no restrictions with music programs. He is in the choir. On the upside, as of right now, our community has had very low to no cases for the past month and vaccination rate for Adults 18 and up that completed their series is 64.5%. Total population completion of series is 53.7% in our county. 

Thank you again for all you do!


Eben writes:

Dear Daniel,

I’m a cultural anthropologist and have been an avid TWIV listener during the pandemic.

Right now SARS-CoV-2 is hitting the area of the world where I work–West Papua, Indonesia–and is hitting hard. It’s not in the news, but people are lining up in the streets outside clinics, coughing, with the classic symptoms of not being able to taste and smell.

I’m writing because there is a lot of anti-vax sentiment that is circulating, and I’m about to participate in a public forum and want to pass along the most accurate information.  Sinovac is the only vaccine available, so for starters I’m trying to convince the public that this isn’t a new technology (like mRNA) where there may be some unknown effects in years to come. I found one early press release from Brazil suggesting that Sinovac was the safest of all the vaccines tested in their early clinical trials. Any updates on this front?  Also, medical professionals in Indonesia are asking people about their preexisting conditions before they are offering people vaccine. Do you know of any preexisting conditions that would make you think twice about giving a Sinovac vaccine? Are there any significant adverse events that people should be aware of?

Thank you for your time and for your tireless work in getting accurate information out in the world.



S. Eben Kirksey, Ph.D.
Associate Professor (Research), Alfred Deakin Institute

PS I just wanted to write a quick follow-up to my earlier query related to the safety of Sinovac in the context of West Papua, part of Indonesia.

As this public event in West Papua approaches on Friday, dozens of people are writing me with questions and more information. Before administering the vaccine, the nurses in the main hospitals are asking if patients have any preexisting conditions. So now people are asking me if there is any problem in getting the vaccine if they have suffered from TB, malaria, high cholesterol, heart disease, gastrointestinal reflux, and joint pain. My gut feeling is: just get the vaccine! But, since I’m not a medical doctor I want to make sure that there aren’t specific preexisting conditions that are counter indicated for Sinovac.

Also, it turns out that the AstraZeneca vaccine is also offered in West Papua, not just Sinovac. I know about the rare blood clots with AstraZeneca (and my own wife had elevated clotting factors after getting Astra). In your opinion, is there any reason to recommend Sinovac over AstraZeneca, or should people just go for whatever is available?

Michael writes:

Dear Dr Griffin, 

I have a patient with lymphocytic colitis and fibromyalgia. She had already been twice infected with SARS-CoV2 and was reluctant to get the vaccine, thinking she was already fully immune. Based in part on my advice to her that vaccine-induced immunity was more robust than a natural infection…she finally got vaccinated so could attend a college that required the vaccine. Upon getting the second dose of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, she developed severe back and neck pain on the side of the injection that lasted for over a month. She was evaluated in the ED twice and had a brain MRI, all coming back without any significant findings. She finally recovered with the help of a physical therapist. Does a pain condition like fibromyalgia or inflammatory condition like lymphocytic colitis sensitize people to adverse effects from the vaccine? Should someone who already had TWO natural infections get the vaccine or is the second infection enough to boost the response on its own?

Thanks for your outstanding updates. I feel as though I have completed an ID fellowship on COVID from following your show every week. 

Best wishes. 

Michael J. McCarthy MD, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Psychiatry
University of California San Diego

Michael writes:

Dr. Griffin,

I first wanted to thank you for your weekly TWIV updates, my wife and I both listen to them religiously.  You have been particularly helpful for us as parents of 3 children under the age of 12  making decisions about how to navigate a world in which we are vaccinated and they are not.  

While picking up childhood vaccination records for the youngest to go to a local day camp (outdoors and masked with a credible covid plan, i.e. low risk although not no risk), my wife was very concerned to overhear our pediatrician having a conversation in the reception area with his front office staff and another mother in which our pediatrician:

* Related a story in which he told his own 23 year old son, who works with vulnerable adults, not to get the COVID vaccine even though his son’s friends and employer were “bullying him” to do so

* Agreed with the unmasked mother, who it turns out works in a local hospital and is not vaccinated that it was unfair for her hospital to tell her to get vaccinated and that she was right to keep her teenage daughter unvaccinated

*Brought up a news story about a college student who had been denied medical exemption for COVID vaccination at BYU Hawaii despite having Guillain-Barré paralysis after a previous vaccination as a reason to reject all vaccination requirements at college.

We had some concerns about this pediatrician previously as he’d not worn a mask during a well visit in April 2020, blaming an unspecified medical condition, and after this episode we will find another one.  We are fortunate that our area (Essex Co, NJ) has high adult vaccination rates, good general mask compliance and plenty of pediatricians to choose from, which we can do easily with our insurance.

But after this long winded preamble, my question is this:

Is there anything which can be done to limit damage from pediatricians and other trusted medical professionals who spread misinformation about COVID vaccination to their patients?  I don’t want to give it up as a lost cause, but it does feel a bit hopeless when somebody who should be one of the most informed acts as though they are one of the least.



Linda writes:

Dr Griffin,

I am a listener of TWV. I do not know if you will get this in time to give a relevant answer

We live in San Diego. My husband’s 101 year old mother lives in Everett, Wa. 

She developed a cough, sniffles and fatigue on Saturday. I had just listened to your clinical update that mentioned you had a colleague who had experienced an uptick in positive Covid cases. You mentioned Everett but do not know if this was Everett, Wa. 

Based on your comment, we suggested she get tested. Today (Tuesday) her test came back positive. BUT monoclonal antibody therapy was not recommended. Even though her case is mild, since she is 101, would you suggest she ask for this therapy? 


Amy writes:

Hi Dr. Griffin,

I am a senior microbiology major at Mississippi State University and planning to get my MPH after graduation. My mom often finds “information” from Facebook about COVID-19 and shares it with me but won’t listen to the things I share with her that come directly from clinical papers, or the classes I take. Basically, she keeps talking about booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine. Could you give any input on the timeline or need for booster shots? Thank you so much for your commitment to public health and safety, I have thoroughly enjoyed this podcast over the last few months!


Paul writes:

Hello Dr. Griffin!

Thank you for taking the time to consider my question.  I have a 5 year old that will begin kindergarten this upcoming school year.  To our surprise the school district has made masking optional for each family even though the entire student population will be under 12 and not vaccinated.  Our current metrics are approximately 1% test positivity and 15 cases per 100,000 within our district boundaries.

The district has stated that they will bring back mandated masking among students if community spread increases too much.  They have not been forthcoming on the metric they will use to signify the crossing back into masking however.

My question is as follows… is there a level or threshold that you would consider safe for unvaccinated students to gather indoors without masks for school?  

Thanks again for your thoughts on this and thank you (and Vincent!) for all your help communicating the science on SARS-CoV-2 during this pandemic.


Chemistry and Biology Teacher 
Mount Prospect, Illinois

Kevin writes:

Hello Dr. Griffin,

Like many others, I have not traveled at all outside of my state for over a year now, but I am now gearing up for a 3-month long road trip in the Western part of the United States.  I am fully vaccinated (Pfizer), am a healthy and fit 22 year old male, and have not been previously infected with SARS-CoV-2.  On my trip, I will continue to physically distance myself and wear face coverings in crowded indoor areas, but I still want to plan for what seems to be inevitable for everyone at this point:  getting COVID-19. 

What would your COVID-19 survival kit look like for a vaccinated individual like me?  An N95 to protect others in case I am infected and need to quarantine (likely at a campground)?  Ibuprofen?  Thermometer?  Rapid antigen tests?  Tissues?  Other items?

Thank you so much for all you do.



Chris writes:

Hello Daniel and the TWIV team,

Your podcasts have helped keep me sane this past year and a bit once a friend turned me on to your fantastic stream of information! Your podcast content on COVID-19 is presented in such a way that I think I am getting the salient points a curious non-scientist can use for making reasoned, pragmatic choices. I am so grateful to you all for that.

I have a question for Daniel or whomever else might wish to weigh in.

On May 12th, I got my second dose of Pfizer, and ever since Memorial Day weekend, about two weeks later, I have been feeling great … which is weird because I haven’t felt great since my late 30s. (I’m 52 now.) Around the age of 41, although it hasn’t been diagnosed as such, I started to have more and less severe symptoms of CFS/ME. (And I am being medically managed for a number of symptoms related to that.) When most severe, I haven’t been able to climb up or down the flight of stairs in my house without crawling or using walking poles, and any exertion like a walk or housework on one day would have to be followed by a day of rest. At best, I would simply feel weighed down as I hoarded the small amounts of energy I could gather. 

So when I had such a burst of get-up-and-go over the holiday weekend, I took a skeptical view. There could be lots of reasons for a short reprieve, not least of which was achieving full COVID immunity – including returning to more social interaction, the return of summer sunlight to the Pacific Northwest, some time alone with my husband off on a fishing trip, a three day weekend … and I got prepared to experience a crash soon after. But then nothing happened. I never crashed. I sustained my physical activities, deep cleaning around the house, socializing, running errands. Instead of following my work day with dinner and couch surfing — the best I could do for years — I spent time organizing things and taking care of the house and other projects. This has continued right through to today. It’s been seven weeks since then. And each day – it’s like I have a new lease on life. It’s as if my large muscle groups are getting electric impulses that have been missing for many years.

Given the sustained length of this mysterious improvement, the only thing I can think to chalk it up to is perhaps the COVID vaccine’s jolt to my immune system having an unexpected salutary effect on whatever inflammatory and/or auto-immune issues I have been experiencing for so long.

Does that make any sense?

she, her
Seattle, WA

Chris writes:

First of all – many big thanks to you and Vincent for the wonderful TWiV clinical updates. They have been invaluable over the past year to many of us.

You have been consistent in your message that school reopening can be accomplished safely. However, I believe that I heard Dr. Rosenfeld on one “Q&A with A&V” (several weeks ago) mention that the community spread of many respiratory diseases (Influenza in particular) has a large contribution from school age children. A casual search turned up a couple of pre-pandemic references that focused on the role of children in epidemic spread.

Can you discuss how these apparently different points of view can be reconciled? 

Thanks again for your important work in the hospitals and in science communication. 

Best regards, 

Chris Boles, Ph.D, Chief Scientific Officer 
Sage Science, Inc., Beverly, MA

Charles writes:

Hello Dr. Griffin and Dr. Racaniello;

A wet and mild day in central North Carolina.  72F, 22C, but way too wet to be fun.

I have seen a lot of stories in the mainstream media about positive tests for COVID-19 among Yankees and those at the Olympics who have been fully vaccinated. Being on the pedantic side, this drives me nuts as the test is for SARS-CoV-2, not COVID-19.  Using COVID-19 makes it sound like the vaccines  are not working.  An exception to this, as of late, has been the Washington Post (links below).

From what I have read the Olympics are doing daily antigen tests and following up positives with RT-PCR tests.  In some of the comments people have asked about the CT values.  I know that Dr. Griffin likes to have the CT values, but if you have a positive antigen test do you need the CT values?  My thought is no, you do not need the CT values.  My thinking, the CT values indicate if there is an active infection, but the positive antigen test already tells you there is active virus.

This led me to another question about treatments for COVID-19 and testing.  Does it make sense to do an antigen test to determine if a patient has active virus.  It seems that if an antigen test is positive, antiviral drugs and antibody treatments would be very important to start.  If the antigen test is negative, steroids and other treatments would be recommended.  The antigen test would just be a more accurate, less subjective, way to determine where the patient is in the course of their disease.  Or is this just way too simple or crazy?  

Off topic: Ever encounter the term “in silico”?  I read it for the first time today.  I thought it was great.




Tamara writes:

Hello TWIV

I am emailing from cottage country, Southern Ontario in Canada where the weather is 20 Celsius, low humidity and beautiful sunshine.  Much different weather from a recent tornado which swept through the surrounding  area a few days ago.  

In Canada, we don’t manufacture our own vaccines and we have had supply issues.  Consequently they were advising people that they could wait months between doses.   Once the delta variant showed up they ordered more vaccine and promptly advised people to get the second shot in the correct time interval as advised by the manufacturer.

My first shot was Pfizer and right after  there were problems with supply since the students 12 – 17 are now approved (emergency use) for Pfizer but not other vaccines.   Had I known what would happen shortly after, I would have gone with Moderna.   It is difficult to obtain the Pfizer second shot due to limited supply and high demand.

The powers that be are telling people like me that we can mix Pfizer with Moderna.    I am skeptical.

Are there any studies that have been done regarding the mixing of the mRNA vaccines?  If so, is there any guidance you can supply on mixing the Pfizer first with the Moderna second dose (and of course vice versa)?

As a public service announcement to your listerners/viewers, you are very fortunate in the US to have access to vaccines and you can follow the manufacturers instructions.   North of the border, it has been a real struggle to get the vaccinations in the proper time intervals.    I have spent hours if not days scheduling my Mother  to get vaccinated.  I was not even eligible to get a vaccine until June (they prioritized other groups, which was understandable but certainly left me and others like me vulnerable).    It has been a mad scramble up here and a real struggle.   Please don’t take your access to life saving and SAFE treatments for granted.

I really appreciate your knowledge and love your content.    Please keep up the great work, you have saved lives, lifestyles and protected the health and therefore the qualify of life for millions.    Do NOT EVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR IMPACT ALL OVER THE WORLD.

Thank you so very much for sharing your knowledge.

Susan writes:

Dear Dr. Daniel Griffin,

During your Covid Clinical update number #780, you mentioned that some vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections did go on to get Long Covid.  You added that the number was “relatively low” compared to the number of people who have Long Covid following exposure to the SARS CoV-2 virus.  

Would you be able to be more specific in terms of what you meant regarding “relatively low compared to…”?  

This is an issue we are concerned about.  We are fully immunized older individuals (64 and 78). Although not immune compromised, we have a number of the “classic” comorbidities (asthma, heart conditions) that seem linked to severe Covid and often Long Covid.

You also mentioned that the CDC is commencing studies regarding Long Covid. 

Do you have any idea whether the CDC might also be considering the question of why Long Covid occurs in fully immunized people with breakthrough infections? 

Professor Fouchier on TWIV #777 did say that he felt an eventual re-infection would be a “boost” to his immune system.  We felt reassured by this opinion and it does seem the natural course of the body’s immune response.  However, what you mentioned today about the incidence of Long Covid in fully immunized people has us wondering if and when we should be wearing masks (e.g., in our home with other fully vaccinated friends?) or whether the risk is so low that we shouldn’t be concerned about this issue.

Thank you so much for your wonderful podcast and all the time that you devote to bringing essential information to the clinicians and the public.  

Thank you in advance if you can find the time to give us a brief response to our questions.

Very Sincerely, 

Susan and Les 

Julie writes:

Hi Daniel,

I’m a big fan of yours on TWiV, thank you for guiding us through the information overload these days.  I have a question about trying to find help with potential long-haul symptoms.  

I’ll try to be brief in my explanation of my situation:

I’m a very healthy, active 37-year old female with no health concerns.  I work at Cornell University so I’ve been tested for Covid 1-2 times per week since September of 2020, and I’ve never had a positive test.  In March of 2020 I started experiencing chest pain/discomfort and I experienced a few short periods of shortness of breath.  I went to my doctor, she did not suspect Covid-19.  However, the chest pain has continued, and I experienced an episode of strong chest pain the day after my first Pfizer vaccine dose.  I recently received a positive SARS-Cov-2 t-cell test from T-Detect (which I learned about from you), so I suspect I had a mild case in March and this could possibly be a lingering symptom.  The pain was so bad that on one occasion I went to Urgent Care, had an EKG, but nothing was determined so I’m still in limbo.  My doctor doesn’t seem interested in helping me find answers.  She said that chest pain is normal and literally said ‘Good luck with that’ and sent me on my way.  My question is how can I find help determining if this is even a long-haul symptom, and then how to get medical help?  Of course, I’ve been hearing lots about ivermectin but my doctor told me that it’s super experimental and not something she recommends.  I got in touch with Bruce Patterson’s group at but as soon as I realized I’d have to pay them to be part of their research I got suspicious.  How can I vet this group?  How can I get in touch with a group that’s working on long-haul syndrome?  It’s very difficult for a non-medical person to find reliable answers.

Thank you again for communicating science to us lay-people!

Cornell Plant Breeding and Genetics

Gretchen writes:

Dear Dr. Griffin,

You said the data from the UK household transmission study was “a bit underwhelming” with maybe only a 40 to 50% reduction in transmission resulting.  However, you attributed that outcome to the fact that many in the UK had only one jab.  Are there any studies that show how much household transmission is reduced when a family member gets both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines?  If so, how much is the household transmission rate reduced with the two-jab mRNA vaccines?  Can you also please provide the journal, date, and author names so that we might read the journal article ourselves?

Also, what are the differences in transmission between vaccinated children and vaccinated adults?  Our 12-year-old (as of 4 days ago) will be fully vaccinated before schools start in the fall, but his little sister will not.  If we send him to school vaccinated, what risk does this pose for her?  Even if we keep her in virtual schooling, she will have daily close contact with her brother who will be spending all day in a class of mostly unvaccinated 11-year-olds who are not required in our state to wear a mask.

Thank you,


Pamela writes:

Dear Dr. Griffin,

I have a close friend who lives in Rhode Island, (I live in PA).   We generally spend part of the summer taking car trips together, and visiting each other’s homes.  Since she will not get vaccinated (she says the vaccine is synthetic; I come from a family of virologists and honestly I can’t even go there), I don’t feel comfortable on extended car trips or house visits; I’ve had two shots of the Moderna vaccine in March and April, respectively.

I have told her we can have a meal outside, and that she can stay downstairs, distanced, if she needs to spend the night (she comes here to see a doctor nearby).  She is not concerned about herself, but I am worried about variants and breakthrough infections (I’m 73 and healthy).  

Do you think the car trips and extended non-distanced house visits are safe to resume?

Thank you so much!

All best,


Tony writes:

Hi Vincent and team / Daniel,

You and others on TWiV state that COVID and long COVID is a risk to children and they should get vaccinated. However you never compare the risk of COVID and long COVID to a healthy child with the risk of vaccine side effects. I support vaccination but please spend some time making this comparison. It would address an issue often raised by anti vaxxers. My own view is that vaccinating children is more about combating the virus in general and not so much about protecting individual children.