We were grateful for the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Thomas of PriMED Physicians to get answers to YOUR questions about COVID-19 vaccines. We know this information will be helpful to Dayton Area families as they make their decisions.
DIVYA THOMAS, MD, MPH, PRIMED PHYSICIANS
Divya Thomas, MD, MPH is a pediatrician with PriMed Centerville Pediatrics. “I consider it an honor that parents trust me with the health and well-being of their child. I believe the best approach to patient care is identifying risk factors and advocating for your patient to implement life-altering changes with the best outcomes.” – Dr. Thomas
PEDIATRIC RESIDENCY :: St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO
MEDICAL DEGREE :: M.S. Ramaiah Medical College, Bengaluru, India
MASTERS DEGREE :: Public Health, Grand Canyon University
PROFESSIONAL INVOLVEMENT & RECOGNITION
PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ::
American Academy of Pediatrics
Patient-Centered Medical Home NCQA
OUTSIDE OF PRIMED
Dr. Thomas and her husband are from Houston, TX. They, along with their three little girls, have become “comfortable Midwesterners,” and enjoy hiking and the four seasons.
:: INTERVIEW QUESTION+ANSWER RECAP ::
We know that many parents still have questions about COVID-19 vaccines for children. We polled our audience over the last few weeks and found that many questions overlap among families! Dr. Thomas is going to be answering some of our readers’ most frequently asked audience questions.
COURTNEY SNOW, DMC :: The first question we have for you, Dr. Thomas, is How safe and effective are COVID vaccines for kids? – could you provide some insight on that?
DR. THOMAS :: We know now that this vaccine is one of the most well-studied vaccines in history. Never before have we had access to so much data before, and over 26 million doses have been administered to kids worldwide. We know that this vaccine prevents kids from getting severely infected from COVID. Yes, you may still get the infection, but it’s still preventing severe infections and severe respiratory distress, and even death. Over and over, this vaccine has been found to be safe and effective at preventing serious implications from COVID-19.
COURTNEY SNOW, DMC :: Several parents asked, Can children get natural immunity against COVID instead of that provided by vaccines? – how would you answer this question?
DR. THOMAS :: Great question. In the context of how well your body fights it, it all depends on how good the antibodies are, right? So, if you get the infection, let’s say you get COVID and I get the vaccine – we may both have the antibodies, but it depends on how good the antibodies are. We’ve studied this and found that the antibodies you get from the vaccine are 2.5 times more likely to prevent you from getting a severe infection in your lungs or getting hospitalized and other serious complications that can occur from COVID-19. It’s not just that your body has the antibodies; it’s how good the antibodies are, which is what we are studying. To answer your question, natural immunity is one thing, but how good is it going to prevent a serious and severe complication from COVID-19.
COURTNEY SNOW, DMC :: Another question many asked was, Should unvaccinated children remain masked up, even among vaccinated company?
DR. THOMAS :: That’s a good question. It all depends on your community and your state and how rampant COVID is in your state, right? We found that specifically on the West Coast where the COVID numbers were going down because vaccine rates were going up, it was safe for kids to unmask. In other parts of the country where vaccines rate is not that great and we’re still seeing rampant infections, it’s not wise for your kids to be unmasked. For example, my kids now are unmasked in school because our numbers are going down and the vaccine rate is going up. It all depends on where you are in the country and what the rates are surrounding you. I would circle back with how it looks in your community.
COURTNEY SNOW, DMC :: Lastly, a major concern many of our followers asked about was in regards to safety and effectiveness – Should we be concerned about COVID vaccine side effects for kids, including the risk of myocarditis? – what would you like parents to know?
DR. THOMAS :: It’s all about transparency. We’ve found a few cases per million population of how myocarditis has been seen in those who got the COVID-19 vaccine. Medicine is all about risks versus benefit. How likely are you to get myocarditis from COVID as opposed to the vaccine? We’ve found that you’re more likely to get myocarditis and severe complications from the infection itself as opposed to the vaccine. This has been studied, and we’ve found that it’s only a few cases per million. In my medical opinion, the benefits outweigh the risk of the vaccine.
:: CATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ::
Thank you to all of YOU who submitted questions for review! We wish we had time to get to all of them and appreciate your willingness to engage in this conversation, so that we can all make the best choices for our families.