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  • Writer's pictureDr. Speir

Just keep swimming...variants and vaccines

Sorry it has been a while since I published an update. Not much new to report right now. Hospital precautions and visitor restrictions still remain in place. I really feel like the case numbers are down because we must be reaching some type of community immunity with people who have actually had COVID and the number of people being vaccinated. As far as the variants are concerned, it seems that we already have many of them circulating in California. I am hopeful that the vaccine and previous infection will at least provide some immunity so that we don't see the surge that we saw in the last two months. I am excited about the one dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine coming out as well. People are concerned about the efficacy of the vaccine, but in the trials there were no cases of hospitalizations or deaths which to me means it is still very effective. Because that one was tested differently than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines it seemed to be less efficacious but it was tested in South Africa which had a new variant and still provided protection against severe disease. If you look just at the US numbers of people tested the efficacy was much higher. Either way, the challenge now is getting shots in arms. I heard one expert talk about the fact that people getting various vaccines could help prevent widespread transmission of the new variants that are popping up because of slightly different ways they stimulate the immune system. Quite fascinating!

There are some predictions that pregnant women will be officially approved for the vaccine in March which is exciting. We are still encouraging people who are high risk to get the vaccine as soon as possible, despite pregnancy status.

I also read a report that COVID antibodies are passed to newborns through mom which is kind of exciting and hopefully we will see that with the antibodies from the vaccine as well. This actually might change recommendations so that pregnant women are encouraged to get the vaccine, similar to the flu shot! Definitely if you are breast feeding I would recommend getting the vaccine ASAP.

Also, there still seems to be very few cases of maternal to newborn transmission of COVID which I find encouraging, we have many more cases of COVID detection prior to delivery and newborns are not being separated, just placed in an isolate next to mom while they are not breast feeding. We are encouraging parents to wear their masks during the quarantine period. It seems crazy to me that a year ago, experts were recommending separating mothers and babies.

Posting a picture of me donating blood on my birthday, the gift of life. Seemed appropriate, might have to make it a tradition. They take 470 cc which is a little more than the amount people lose during a vaginal delivery. My next post will be on lactation support - stay tuned!

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