Letter to the Editor | By Ken Zangwill, MD, Division Chief, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Families with SPUSD students:
As school starts and the Delta COVID variant continues to spread, I strongly encourage you and your family to get vaccinated (currently it is available for anyone greater than or equal to 12 years of age). One issue of which you may not be aware regarding vaccination: CDC and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health now recommend, and therefore SPUSD will be required to quarantine, any unvaccinated student with “close contact” to a child or staff member with COVID infection.
For most, this means 10 days at home; it might be 7 days if a (negative) test is obtained on day 5-7 of quarantine. Importantly, this could happen more than once in a single month, a semester, or the whole year – if another contact with an infected person happens. So, for this reason alone, vaccination can prevent unanticipated at-home child care and parental work loss or expense.
These vaccines are immensely safe and effective. As a hospital-based pediatric infectious diseases physician; I have taken care of too many unvaccinated hospitalized children infected with COVID, including in the intensive care unit. These admissions could have been prevented by timely vaccination. The vaccine is readily available and free.
I would add that I support full school reopening for all levels, and am happy that SPUSD has taken great pains to mitigate risk with the most important being indoor masking of all staff and students.
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