September 21, 2021

Lee and Kimberlin provide updates on pediatric cases of COVID-19 and more in latest panel

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Lee square“It’s really hard for parents right now,” said Rachael Lee, M.D., MSPH, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, in the latest “What's New with COVID-19” panel.

On Monday, Sept. 20, Lee was joined by David Kimberlin, M.D., professor and co-director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, to discuss the latest COVID-19 news in the ongoing panel series.

“I know we are all tired,” said Kimberlin. But going back to the basics, he explained, is the best thing we can do right now.

Pediatric cases of COVID-19 and other news in Alabama

Kimberlin reminded viewers from the community and across UAB that Alabama is not in a good place with the latest Delta surge.

However, Kimberlin discussed “one piece of good news:” Pfizer-BioNTech’s press release stating children ages 5-11 have shown safe and effective results in trials, and that they will share the results with the FDA as soon as possible.

The FDA should consider authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for children 5-11 years old before Halloween. “I’m delighted by the timeline,” Kimberlin said.

Kimberlin squareLee used her few moments of opening remarks to lament on the surge: “This is a difficult time…When we talk to health care workers, it’s one of the hardest surges to deal with,” she said.

Lee explained that new cases appear to be coming down but it’s very slow in comparison to the last surge. Death numbers are increasing in the U.S. and in Alabama. “We could be preventing these deaths and severe illness with vaccination,” she said. “At UAB, we are still very full.”

Additionally, Lee and Kimberlin said if we can protect more children in schools, then those schools will stay open.

“To protect your children and yourself, we can’t put the pandemic behind us until more people are vaccinated,” said Kimberlin.

Fast facts from the experts

Pediatric cases

• 2-3x more COVID hospitalizations at Children’s of Alabama than the last surge (January 2021)
• If a child has had COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), then it is important to do follow-up appointments at the UAB MIS-C Clinic or with pediatrician
• There is not a standard follow-up for long haul COVID-19 in children; pediatrician is best contact

Vaccines and hospitalizations

• There is a correlation of myocarditis in male, older adolescents but it is exceedingly rare
• 3x more likely to get struck by lightning than develop myocarditis
• COVID-19 is more likely to cause myocarditis than vaccination
• Vaccine dosage is age-correlated because of immune system age
• 60% of children with COVID have comorbidities; those children at high risk
• Boosters for people who are not immunocompromised are still being reviewed


• EAU for Pfizer vaccine will be exceedingly important and helpful to keep cases down
• Schools should follow the CDC guidelines for masking
• Current guidelines suggest schools in areas of substantial or high transmission should require masks indoors for vaccinated and unvaccinated people (Alabama is mostly a high transmission state)

COVID-19 wellness

• Stay home when you don’t feel well
• Mask up
• Ivermectin does not show any benefit to treating COVID-19 and no data supports using it
• Ivermectin can be harmful
• For those who have had COVID-19, immunity may last 90 days but getting the vaccine is the best way to not get COVID again
• Get the vaccine

Making a difference

As the panel came to a close, Kimberlin suggested empowering ourselves to speak out and speak up when we can. “The community can help by suggesting their preferred businesses require a mask.” He said businesses will want to do what’s best for their customers. “We have to be loving, we have to be polite, but we don’t have to be silent.” Speak up and realize your power, he said.

whats new with covid whiteJoin the conversation

The “What’s new with COVID-19” panel series provides opportunities to learn the latest updates on COVID-19 from infectious diseases experts and epidemiologists in an informal setting. The series offers accessible panel discussions for several audiences.

Watch Kimberlin and Lee's session from Sept. 20.

Join the next panel on Friday, Oct. 8 to hear from experts on the latest COVID-19 news. This community panel will focus specifically on the Delta variant's effect on wellness and managing stress during COVID-19. Join Megan McMurray Hays, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Laura Dreer, Ph.D., director of Psychological and Neuropsychology Clinical Research Services.