– Editorial Opinion submitted by Dr. David Tayloe of Goldsboro Pediatrics –
As a pediatrician on the “front lines,” I talk with parents every day who are thankful and relieved that they and their children are vaccinated and boosted. Unfortunately, I also talk with people who have not received the COVID vaccine and will not let us vaccinate their children. I know they are putting themselves and their children at risk. Approximately 4000 NC children have lost parents to COVID; most of the deceased were unvaccinated. Omicron has killed perfectly normal people, but it can be especially deadly for those with risk factors like diabetes and obesity!
As Chair of the Ethics Committee at our hospital, we struggle to care for patients presenting with chest pain and other non-COVID conditions because our hospital is overrun with unvaccinated COVID patients. Our pediatric practice has referred numerous children to children’s hospitals because of medical complications from COVID. Childhood hospitalizations are increasing significantly. And nearly all this tragedy is preventable!!
When COVID struck, and a vaccine was developed at “warp speed,” during a tense political timeframe, I contacted a scientist friend who serves on the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) COVID Vaccine Committees. I asked him if he thought the vaccine was safe. He reassured me we developed the vaccine so quickly because scientists had been perfecting the mRNA technology for years, had access to the genetic code for the virus, and the government made COVID prevention its number one priority by providing the funding to assure development of a safe vaccine – sort of like when we have to stop and get out of the way when an ambulance is coming down the highway – think of the COVID vaccine project as the federal government’s ambulance to rescue us from COVID!
So, I took the Pfizer vaccine, and my wife took Moderna’s product, and we have both had our complete series including the booster. All our children and grandchildren (6 years through 48 years) are vaccinated and boosted.
For those concerned about safety, we have given over five hundred million doses of COVID vaccines. The FDA is extremely strict about safety and removing unsafe vaccines from the market. I have seen this happen in pediatrics and it has never taken the FDA more than a couple of months to remove an unsafe product. In 47 years of giving vaccines to children, I have never had a patient suffer any permanent side effects from a vaccine. If people have questions about the safety of a vaccine for themselves or their children, they should talk with their doctor. All pediatricians love to talk about vaccines because we see vaccines saving lives every day.
In contrast, we know that COVID has killed more people worldwide than any virus since the 1918 influenza pandemic. We have watched friends die from three versions of COVID-19. Vaccines provide excellent protection against all three strains. Unfortunately, there will be other strains. The only way our country can regain any semblance of normalcy, is for all eligible people to be vaccinated and boosted with a COVID vaccine.
We pediatricians are at the stage of begging those of you who are unvaccinated to take this effective, safe vaccine for the sake of yourselves, your children, and your communities!
Dave Tayloe, Jr., MD, FAAP
Goldsboro Pediatrics, PA
Former President, American Academy Pediatrics and the NC Pediatric Society
This op-ed was developed with editorial assistance from Gabriela Maradiaga Panayotti, M.D. [email protected] and the NC Pediatric Society
The opinions expressed in this editorial are not necessarily the views of Goldsboro Daily News or Curtis Media Group-Goldsboro.