Lisa writes:

Dear Dr. Griffin,

As a pediatric nurse practitioner, I so appreciate your weekly clinical updates these past way too many months. 

I agree, kids are at risk. The decisions made by adults responsible for protecting them sadly too often put them at higher risk than they need to be. While numbers here in Florida are finally beginning to trend down, they remain much too high. 

We are in the middle of a mask debate, with a local chiropractor handing out blank, signed medical mask exemptions after a very contentious school board meeting in which our county school board instituted a mask mandate in defiance of our Governor’s ban on this. 

Parents continue to show up in front of our schools with signs that making our kids wear masks is child abuse. Parents and children too often refuse to abide by our request that they wear masks in our office. The other day I walked in an exam room with mom’s mask on the exam table and the child’s mask on the floor. I picked it up and handed it to him as I said with a smile, “This won’t protect anyone if it’s laying on the floor.” Hint not taken. Mostly I am simply so weary of it all that I say nothing.

And. Now. Our new state surgeon general who says he is “rejecting fear” over “COVID mania” has decided that, as long as they are feeling well, our school children (many of whom of course are unable to be vaccinated, or, if they are able, are not) no longer need to quarantine or test simply because they’ve been exposed to this pesky little virus. I am curious as to your opinion on this brilliant public health policy. 

Keep up the good work in spite of all the insanity!

Venice, Florida 

Michelle writes:

I have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to vaccinate my eleven year old daughter for Covid.  I have been following the news on the Pfizer vaccine for children and have been hopeful it would be ready in the near future.  From my understanding of looking at the data, the dose is approximately 1/3 of the dose administered to adults.  I feel as if I’m in a quandary now trying to decide what the best option for my daughter is.  She turns 12 January 19, 2022.  She is 61 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds so she is the size of a small adult.  She attends a school in which masks are only optional and most kids are not wearing them though I do have her wear one.  My concern is whether to get my daughter vaccinated in late fall with the children’s dose or wait until January for the adult dose.  Many children’s medications are dosed on size so I would feel better with her receiving the adult dose, but this also prolongs when she will be vaccinated. 

Thank you for all of your hard work and information you provide.

Michelle, LMSW
Sumner Mental Health Center

Daniel writes:

Dear Daniel and Vincent,

In NSW (Australia) at the moment there are a number of people in ICU and dying after full vaccination. I know this is to be expected – but I feel that discussion of this is avoided and leads my older friends particularly to to feel confused and helpless.

All the people who have died here, post vaccine, have been in their 80’s or 90’s. They have also all had other underlying issues.

But the underlying issues are never reported.

My understanding of why this would occur at all is that the individual was unable to mount an immune response to the vaccine – not that the vaccine has  ‘weakness’ but the individual. Is this correct? Are there young healthy people who make no immune response and are unprotected for some reason?

Is there a specific list of Age + underlying conditions that people can look at and clearly understand their level of risk?

My advice to them at the moment is to continue to mask outside their homes and to make ‘bubbles’ for indoor socialising with other people who are similarly protecting themselves until we can have access to cheap, rapid at home testing and anti-virals. I have also suggested to them that an anti-body test would reassure them that the vaccine has worked (we are mostly just a month or so from 2nd doses here so my understanding is that the anti-bodies should still be strong – I know they will fade and that’s okay – hooray for memory B cells and T cells!).

I am noticing a growing number of people who are in despair that this situation will never improve – and I feel more hopeful and would like assure them of this.

Regards – and of course many thanks for what you do to help us all at this time.


Helen writes:

Dear Daniel,

I am a parent of a 34 year old adult with Down syndrome.  She has had 2 Pfizer vaccines.  Initially I was relieved, but now I’m reading that people with Down syndrome may not always mount a full response to vaccines.  I was wondering if there is any data yet on how well people with Down syndrome respond to the vaccines.  My daughter is in a congregate day program where all staff and participants are vaccinated and continue to practise masking, social distancing etc., but it is still a concern.

Thanks for any information on this topic.