After the dust settled from yet another contentious San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting, a panel of medical experts met in a virtual forum Wednesday to fact check against COVID-19 misinformation.
It's no coincidence that on the first day of administering COVID-19 vaccines to 5 to 11-year-olds, the kid-size Pfizer vaccine was a hot topic among public participants.
Among the experts dissecting comments about the shot was Dr. Mark Sawyer from Rady Children's Hospital.
"You put your kid in a seatbelt, in car seats. Why don’t you give them a vaccine to protect them?" Dr. Sawyer said in response to claims the vaccine doesn't protect children.
The Pfizer vaccine for kids is 90% effective, according to Sawyer. Possible side effects are similar and often less severe in children than teenagers.
County Chief Medical Officer Eric McDonald says coronavirus transmission among school-age children is helping drive the pandemic through its final leg.
"If you look at where they are being exposed, over a quarter of them have a history of possibly being exposed in the school environment. That speaks to the younger distribution of kids," Dr. McDonald said.
The doctors say there is still a significant trend of unvaccinated people being hospitalized.
"It’s the younger population thinking, 'Maybe I can wait. Maybe I will think about it. Maybe I don’t need the vaccine because I am young and healthy,'" Dr. Siu Ming Geary of the Scripps clinic in La Jolla said.
In the U.S, Dr. Sawyer said COVID so far has claimed the lives of 94 children, infected nearly 2 million and caused the hospitalization of 8,300 kids.
Sawyer said children deal with some of the same risk factors as adults.
"Most kids don’t have significant risk factors other than obesity, which is the major risk factor in children, and some of them have asthma or other respiratory conditions," he explained.
Also on the panel was Dr. Zulma Curet of Neighborhood Healthcare. She addressed kids wearing masks, saying they are an effective protection device. She said she finds her patients adaptable, but really any mask your child will keep on is good enough.