What parents should know about their children receiving COVID-19 vaccine | Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

Vaccine is our best bet to keep our children safe and we have already seen the success of so many childhood disease like measles and chickenpox from vaccines. Questions: Should I have my 12 year old child vaccinated for COVID-19?Answer: Yes. Once the FDA gives emergency use authorization (EUA) to the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12-15, it is definitely a good idea to have your child vaccinated. A study done among 2,260 children showed 100% of the children had an antibody response from the vaccine. Also there were no cases of covid among those who were vaccinated and 18 cases of covid among those who received the placebo. No new or significant side effects were noted among those who received the vaccine. Are the proportion of covid cases in kids going up?Yes. In the last month we have seen 755 children with COVID-19 in Shelby County. They made up 18% of all the cases. Comparatively, throughout the pandemic children below the age of 18 only made up 12% of the cases. So without,...

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Why early contact tracing is key to stopping next coronavirus wave | Opinion – Commercial Appeal

If we are to get ahead of the virus, we need to respond rapidly for testing and tracing. Hundreds of COVID-19 infections per day are a public health emergency. While we may want to think that the pandemic is behind us, our recent experience tells us that this is not the case. Michigan, Brazil and India are examples of what can happen in Memphis, if we prematurely declare victory. Early tracing provides a solutionEarly tracing is much like treating each positive case like an emergency. Responding in a rapid manner can stall or prevent the next surge of infections due to mutant strains that threaten Shelby County. Here is how early tracing works. Let’s take Joanne—fictitious name and details as seen on the graphic—a 40 year old woman who works at JJ’s Mortgage company. She went for a COVID-19 PCR test, T+, on April 26. The next day when the test was positive, a simple 10-minute process of early tracing helped prevent further infections. Her symptoms, S, mild fever and cough, started...

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What to know about Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution pause | Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

The FDA and CDC both recommend the pause of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine after six Americans had blood clots after taking the vaccine. Question: Should I be concerned about blood clots after the vaccine? Answer: You should be aware, but not concerned. Of the three vaccines available it is only the Johnsons and Johnson (J&J) vaccine that has shown an extremely rare chance of blood clotting associated with low blood platelet count. The other two vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are produced using a different mechanism than the J&J and after 180 million doses, they have shown no risk of blood clots. If I had J&J vaccine what should I be aware of?The usual side effects of body aches and fever are expected for 24 to 28 hours after the vaccine. The blood clotting complications can extremely rare with six cases identified after 7 million doses. It occurs about nine days after the vaccination. So, the complication is unlikely less than six days after the vaccine or...

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What to know about the P1 mutant COVID-19 strain in Shelby County | A Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

What to know about the P1 mutant COVID-19 strain in Shelby County | A Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

In cities in Brazil where it originated, the P1 mutant strain has caused devastation with a huge number of COVID-19 cases as well as hospitalization. Question: What is the P1 mutant strain? Answer: The COVID-19 virus changes each time it replicates in a cell. Sometimes, these changes make the virus more easy to transmit, more virulent, evade the vaccine or evade antibodies from a previous infection. When the new virus takes on these characteristics we call it a “mutant strain.” P1 also called the “Brazilian strain” is a mutant strain of of the virus which is highly transmissible and is also able to partially evade the vaccine and evade the antibodies from previous COVID-19 infection. In cities in Brazil where it originated, the P1 mutant strain has caused devastation with a huge number of COVID-19 cases as well as hospitalization. Should we be concerned about the P1 strain in Shelby County?Over the past week we have seen 4 cases of the P1 strain in our region. The individuals are...

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How testing and contact tracing protected University of Memphis students from COVID-19 mutant strains | Opinion – Commercial Appeal

One case found at the university led to 29 mutant strains cases. On Feb. 20 we saw our last case of the mutant UK strain on campus. In the following weeks over a thousand tests have been negative. We are entering a new phase of our war against the COVID-19 virus in Shelby County. With large segments of the population being immunized, the vaccines are in many ways providing air-cover, yet on the ground we are still in a hand-to-hand combat against the virus and its variants. Last month at the University of Memphis, we won an important battle. On Feb 7, two people in the University of Memphis athletic department tested positive for COVID-19 during routine asymptomatic testing. But these cases were not ordinary. The initial test had an “S-drop” or a marker of the possible mutant strain, specifically the B117 or the UK mutation. Within hours of the result, AEL laboratories alerted the university and sent the sample for sequencing or genetic fingerprinting. Fingerprinting looks for the...

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Here’s what you need to know after you get fully vaccinated | A Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

There are still aspects of the COVID-19 vaccine that still need to be determined but it still remains the best defense in our fight against COVID-19. Here's what you need to know after you're fully vaccinated. If I am vaccinated can I gather with others without a mask?Yes, being vaccinated has benefits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that individuals who have been fully vaccinated, which is two weeks after the second dose, may gather indoors without a mask with others who are vaccinated. So, last weekend for the first time in nearly a year, we went to dinner over at my uncle and aunt’s home in Germantown. We were vaccinated and they were vaccinated. We all felt safe. Moreso, the CDC recommends that vaccinated people visiting with unvaccinated people from a single household who do not have individuals at risk for severe COVID-19 may also get together without masking and distancing. These are recommendations for indoor gatherings. If you are visiting...

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Search and ye shall find: testing, sequencing and the search for variant coronavirus cases | Opinion – Commercial Appeal

Over two millennia ago, the great Greek tragedian Sophocles said “Look and you will find it - what is unsought will go undetected.” This holds true today. In the Memphis regional area, local laboratory directors looked. We conducted COVID-19 testing with sequencing to identify mutant strains, and we found them. Since Jan. 1, we sequenced 453 random and selected samples, about 2.3% of the positive cases. We found 12 UK strains, 1 South African strain, 2 Brazilian P2 strain, 7 California strains and 1 New York strain. When we called our counterparts in sister cities, they had few or no reported mutant strains. They are simply not looking. They are not sequencing for mutant strains. Across America this is the norm. How the variants evolveOver a year ago, when life was “normal,” COVID-19 was stealthily penetrating our country. CDC was woefully behind in testing and we did not act with sufficient urgency. The virus epidemiologically evolves through three critical stages: seeding,...

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Why are the daily COVID-19 case numbers declining so fast? | A Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

There are various reasons why COVID-19 cases have seen a decline. Dr. Manoj Jain breaks those reasons down and also gives additional insight to your other concerns. Question: Why are the daily COVID-19 case numbers declining so fast? Answer: I wish I knew for certain. It is likely a mish-mash of many factors. First, the end of the holidays were the driving force for the start of the decline. Less family gatherings and fewer holiday parties led to less spread of the virus. Second, a large number of persons have already had COVID-19 infection. Latest numbers show that close to 90,000 people have reported to have had COVID-19 in Shelby County. To get the true number we need to multiply by factor of 4 which is 360,000 people or nearly 40% of the population. Hence there are fewer vulnerable people to get infected. Third, the vaccine too has helped to reduce the non-immune population. With over 75,000 first doses given, and nearly 40% of persons over the age of 75 vaccinated and 70% of...

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Should I send my child back to in-person school? | A Q&A with Dr. Manoj Jain – Commercial Appeal

Question: Should I send my children to in-person school? Answer: Yes. It has been a year since many children have not attended in person school, the educational and psychological risk outweighs the risk from the coronavirus. Last March we did not know much about the spread of the COVID-19 among children and in school settings. Now a number of scientific articles and Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer strong guidance that bringing children back to in-person school is safely possible if all the necessary prevention measures are followed. What is the scientific evidence for safe in-person schooling?Of the many studies, one study from University of Tennessee, Knoxville released a few weeks ago is most convincing. The researchers studied two schools during the fall of 2020 in the Southeast US, following cases closely and doing regular testing. Of the 3,500 students and staff followed 137 cases where identified and when detailed tracing was done 91% were not related with...

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