Table of Contents
CDC Recommends COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11
On Tuesday, November 2, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially recommended that individuals ages 5 and up should get vaccinated against COVID-19. More specifically, the recommendation for COVID-19 vaccination has now been expanded to include children 5-11 years old for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Full vaccination for children is similar to adults, requiring two doses 21 days apart. Children will get a smaller dose of the vaccines, however, with the approved dose for the Pfizer vaccine in those ages 5-11 being one-third the adult dose (which is given to individuals 12 and up). Thus far, only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those in that age range and up to 17 years old. For those 18 years of age and older, all three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States, the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, are approved for use, with the Pfizer vaccine being the only one fully approved and the other two still approved under Emergency Use Authorization.
In addition, in line with the recommendations from the CDC and the FDA, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issues a statement with the following:
“The AAP recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all children and adolescents 5 years of age and older who do not have contraindications using a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use for their age.”
In addition, according to the AAP recommendations, a COVID-19 vaccine should be co-administered with any other vaccines if those vaccines are due for a child and/or adolescent per the CDC schedule of vaccinations, which can be found here. The AAP also recommends that if your child turns 12 before their second dose, they should receive the lower dose that matches their first dose when they receive their second dose. The lower dose should provide sufficient protection against COVID-19 for them, and waiting for the higher dose is generally not recommended. The sooner children are vaccinated, the sooner children can safely interact with each other and the safer everybody will be. For children who may be immunocompromised, whether it be for cancer treatment, a genetic condition, or any other reason, a third dose may be needed. For those interested, the full AAP statement can be found here, with pertinent information and some common questions answered regarding the COVID-19 vaccination in children here at HealthyChildren.org.
While it is true that children are at lower risk of severe infection, there is still a chance that children can get very sick. So far, according to the CDC, 189 children ages 5-11 have died in the U.S. due to COVID-19-related issues. There are also children with underlying conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or some heart conditions (to name a few) who may be at a higher risk of more severe complications due to COVID-19. There are also a variety of potential long-term health risks that can be caused by COVID-19. In addition, children can easily continue to spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to peers and thus, to families, increasing the risk of exposure to the virus to higher risk individuals, making it crucial that children get vaccinated against COVID-19.
It is also important to note that wearing masks is still recommended for anybody ages 2 and up, especially if you are indoors around a lot of people. It is important to consider that COVDI-19 vaccination in children is still new, and it may take a while before most children are vaccinated, and there are still hundreds of new COVID-19 cases in children every day in Michigan. It is crucial that we continue to continue wearing masks and practicing proper hand hygiene techniques while adhering to social distancing protocols when possible.
To find a place to get vaccinated near you, click here and enter your ZIP code. There are options to select which age group and which vaccine you would like (if you are an adult and have a preference).
Finally, a link to some common questions and answers for parents can be found on the Michigan.gov website here, however if you do have additional questions, please reach out to your primary care provider or pediatrician for more information. Also, feel free to reach out to us with any questions, comments, or concerns!
Vaccination More Effective at Preventing COVID-19 than Previous Infection
A recent study from the CDC shows that being fully vaccinated is much more protective against COVID-19 infection than is being previously infected. The study, which looked at the medical records of 7,348 patients who had been hospitalized with a COVID-19-like illness within the last three to six months between January and September 2021, determined that patients who had been fully vaccinated were less likely to test positive for COVID-19 in the hospital — meaning full vaccination is more effective at preventing hospitalization with COVID-19 than is previous infection. The CDC found that among people hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms, unvaccinated people who had a previous COVID-19 infection were 5.49 times as likely to have COVID-19 than people who were vaccinated using an mRNA vaccine (i.e., Pfizer or Moderna) but who had not been previously infected.
Notable questions and limitations that the study’s research team identified in their analysis include the fact that some hospitalized patients with previous vaccination may have had previous asymptomatic infection, which could have unknowingly affected the results. Additionally, since the study only looked at people who had been hospitalized, the study may not be fully generalizable to more mild infections that did not result in testing or hospitalization. Another point of interest for researchers is that a previous study out of Israel looking at the protective effects of previous infection did not find a significant difference between being fully vaccinated and being previously infected. One explanation for this lack of difference might be that vaccination and previous infection may be most protective within the first six months. Had the researchers included patients who had been infected or vaccinated more than six months prior, the results may have changed.
Even with its limitations, this new report supports experts’ previous statements that anyone who is able to be vaccinated should take steps to become fully vaccinated, even if they have already been infected with COVID-19. Vaccination provides a more consistent antibody response than previous infection does and helps to protect people from future infection, especially hospitalization.
Nearly All-White Jury in the Case of Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder
Last year, Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man in Georgia, was out jogging when he was viciously chased and murdered by three white men: Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan Jr. Those men are now on trial for felony murder, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment. All three could face life sentences in prison. After a tiring two and a half weeks of jury selection, a jury made up of 11 white people and one Black person was selected. Prosecutors are blaming defense attorneys for rejecting Black jurors, using 11 of their 24 strikes on Black individuals who might have been placed on the jury. The judge presiding over the case, Timothy Walmsley, stated that there “appears to be intentional discrimintation,” but said that he would still allow the jury to be seated, stating that the reasons for striking the potential jurors was not based on race. Glynn County, where the case is being tried, is 26% Black and about 69% white - numbers that are not reflected in the jury composition. Anxiety about racial makeup of the jury is understandable when the case is clearly about race and so often the criminal justice system protects White individuals, and there is a long history in the South of having white jurors and judges allow white perpetrators to go free after killing Black people. It is anticipated that the trial could last a month.
Detained Immigrants Win $17 Million Lawsuit Against Company That Profited Off Their Labor
A federal jury ruled that the group running the Northwest Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Processing Center broke Washington's minimum wage laws. GEO Group claimed that detained immigrants were not employees, and were being paid a stipend for participating in a "voluntary work program" that the company has a contract for with the federal government. The "voluntary work program" was the only opportunity people who were detained at the facility had to make money to buy overpriced necessities from the detention center's commissary or to send to their families outside the detention center, and "voluntary labor" under such conditions is often coerced (with people facing potential penalties and harsher treatment for not participating). The program mirrors involuntary servitude and slave labor that is common in U.S. prisons (slavery and involuntary servitude are still legal in the U.S. as "punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted"). The detained immigrants, who also included legal asylum seekers, were put to work by the company and were paid $1 per day, no matter how many hours they worked. Many were not even paid that much, and instead were paid in snacks and candy, as if they were animals. None of the people in the detention center had been convicted of a crime. The jury awarded $17.3 million to the inmates, which will divided among around 10,000 people who were affected by the mistreatment. On Monday, a U.S. District Judge will determine how much the company will have to pay in fines to the state for "unjust enrichment." The GEO Group, which runs detention centers and residential mental health facilities in multiple countries, had over $2.3 billion in revenues last year.
"Detained immigrants were paid candy or $1 a day for labor. They’re owed $17 million, a jury says. "
American Psychological Association Issues Apology to People of Color for Contributing to Racism, Inequities, and Discrimination
On October 29th, the American Psychological Association formally apologized for the organization's "Role in Promoting, Perpetuating, and Failing to Challenge Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Human Hierarchy in U.S." The APA is the leading organization for psychologists in the United States, with over 120,000 members, including clinicians, researchers, educators, and students. Its reach and influence throughout the field are hard to overstate, and it has indirect impacts on a variety of other fields. For example, the APA's Style Guide is used in a variety of disciplines as the official rulebook for language in academic and professional publications. The official resolution, which was unanimously approved by the APA's Council of Representatives, goes into significant detail on the harms the field has been complicit in and the changes the organization and professionals in the field must make, and it may be a worthwhile read for those interested. While apologies and resolutions are often considered an easy action that may not result in any serious changes, there is significant potential from this resolution. Beyond potential changes that may or may not take place in the field of psychology, the statements in the resolution could be used to argue for the need to change existing policies in a variety of contexts.
"The American Psychological Association failed in its role leading the discipline of psychology, was complicit in contributing to systemic inequities, and hurt many through racism, racial discrimination, and denigration of people of color, thereby falling short on its mission to benefit society and improve lives. APA is profoundly sorry, accepts responsibility for, and owns the actions and inactions of APA itself, the discipline of psychology, and individual psychologists who stood as leaders for the organization and field."
"Psychology has, through acts of commission and omission, contributed to the dispossession, displacement, and exploitation of communities of color. This early history of psychology, rooted in oppressive psychological science to protect Whiteness, White people, and White epistemologies, reflected the social and political landscape of the U.S. at that time. Psychology developed under these conditions, helped to create, express, and sustain them, continues to bear their indelible imprint, and often continues to publish research that conforms with White racial hierarchy."
"APA was established by White male leadership, many of whom contributed to scientific inquiry and methods that perpetuated systemic racial oppression, including promoting the ideas of early 20th century eugenics."
"Psychologists created, sustained, and promulgated ideas of human hierarchy through the construction, study, and interpretation of racial difference, and therefore contributed to the financial wealth gap and social class disparities experienced by many communities of color."
"Psychology has minimized and marginalized psychologists from communities of color and their contributions to the field."
"APA specifically acknowledges the harm it caused the field and the Black community during the height of the civil rights movement. APA ignored the opportunity to take a formidable stand to address poverty, racism, and social concerns affecting African Americans, despite the strong advocacy of our members."
"APA acknowledges often excluding American Arab, Middle Eastern/North African individuals from APA statements regarding the impact of racism and discrimination and makes an affirmative statement here regarding their inclusion in this resolution."
"APA reaffirms that race is a social construct with no underlying genetic or biological basis and debunks the notion that different groups can be ranked hierarchically on the basis of physical characteristics."
"APA will encourage psychologists and trainees to consider the limitations of White Western-oriented clinical practice, and gain awareness of other healing approaches emanating from Indigenous and other non-Western and cultural traditions."
"APA will engage in a comprehensive audit of all its EDI and other antiracism-related activities...to be concluded by the February 2022 meeting of the Council of Representatives"
"APA reaffirms its rejection of racism and racist ideologies and its commitment to dismantling racism in all forms, including within the discipline itself, will continue to work to identify psychology’s significant potential to dismantle racism in important systems and sectors of society, and will continue to advocate for policies that create a more equitable and inclusive society that honors the needs and well-being of people of color."
"Apology to People of Color for APA’s Role in Promoting, Perpetuating, and Failing to Challenge Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Human Hierarchy in U.S."
"American Psychological Association says it's sorry for perpetuating systemic racism"
More than 750,000 People in U.S. Have Died from COVID-19
On Friday, the United States passed another grim milestone: More than 750,000 people in the country have died from COVID-19. The country passed the 500,000 mark in mid-February of this year. By mid-July, deaths were at their lowest point since the start of the pandemic, but began to sharply rise again by the end of that month as the Delta variant took off. Compounding matters, many states, including Michigan, removed their mask mandates and eliminated COVID-19 restrictions around the same time (Michigan eliminated most COVID-19 restrictions on June 22, 2021). While daily deaths have fallen since their recent peak in September, they are still above 1,000 people per day. The current total, as of Friday, is 751,535 deaths in the U.S. from the disease. Please get fully vaccinated if you are medically able to do so, and wear a mask, wash your hands, and take other precautions when in public places. The pandemic is not over, no matter how much we want it to be.
CDC Data Tracker: Cumulative Deaths:
CDC Data Tracker: Daily Deaths:
Detroit Voters Approve Creations of Reparations Committee
On Tuesday, voters in Detroit overwhelmingly approved the creation of a committee to make recommendations about reparations for the Black community in the city. Proposal R asked "Should the City of Detroit establish a reparations committee to make recommendations for housing and economic development programs that address historical discrimination against the Black community in Detroit?" Just over 80% of people voted in favor of approving the proposal. Like similar committees created in other cities, there is no requirement that the recommendations be followed. Most recommendations for reparations end up being ignored by governments, so it may not result in any substantive changes to policies. That said, if changes are implemented, it could serve as a model for other cities around the country and world.
"Detroit ballot proposals: Voters OK reparations measure, defeat change to spending"
"Detroit, Michigan, Proposal R, City Reparations Committee Advisory Question (November 2021)"
Official Election Results:
More LGBTQ+ Candidates Make History
Election Day brought a number of historic and notable wins for LGBTQ+ candidates around the United States, including many who are people of color. 82 out of 131 candidates endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund won their elections (5 more are still in the race, as they are now in runoffs or their elections have not been decided yet).
Detroit: Gabriela Santiago-Romero, an immigrant from Mexico, became the first openly queer woman elected to the Detroit City Council
Lansing: Peter Spadafore, who is openly gay, won reelection to the Lansing City Council
Adrian: Will Garcia, first openly LGBTQ+ person of color elected as mayor in Michigan history (Adrian)
Hazel Park: Luke Londo, an openly bisexual man, was elected to the Hazel Park City Council
Kalamazoo: Marshall Kilgore, a Black bisexual man, became the first openly queer person of color elected to the Kalamazoo City Commission
Southfield: Jason Hoskins, a openly gay Black man, was reelected to the Southfield City Council
Notable victories from other states:
Massachusetts: Thu Nguyen, a Vietname refugee, became the first openly nonbinary person elected in Massachusetts history (Worcester City Council)
Minnesota: Andrea Jenkins, who became the first openly trans Black woman elected to public office in U.S. history when she initially won in 2017, was reelected to the Minneapolis City Council (representing Ward 8, which includes George Floyd Square)
Montana: Christopher Coburn became the first openly queer Black person elected in Montana history (Bozeman City Commission)
New York: 6 openly LGBTQ+ people were elected to the New York City Council - Crystal Hudson and Kristin Richardson Jordan, the first openly LGBTQ+ Black women elected to the New York City Council, Tiffany Cabán, a Latina woman, Chi Ossé, a Black man, and Lynn Schulman and Erik Bottcher, who are White
Ohio: Rebecca Maurer became the first openly queer woman elected to the Cleveland City Council
Ohio: Dion Manley became the first openly trans person elected in Ohio history (Gahanna-Jefferson City Schools Board)
Pennsylvania: Xander Orenstein became the first openly nonbinary person elected to a judicial position in U.S. history (Allegheny County Magisterial District Court)
Virginia: Danica Roem won reelection to her third term in the Virginia House of Delegates, and is the longest-serving openly trans state legislator in U.S. history
"Rainbow Wave Continues With Big LGBTQ+ Wins on Election Night"
"Election Day Produces LGBTQ+ Firsts Around the Nation"
"NYC Elects Record Six Out City Council Members"
Victory Fund: Election Results 2021 :
Common Antidepressant Prevents Death and Hospitalization in Clinical Trial
Results of a recent clinical trial with COVID-19 patients in Brazil found that a common antidepressant pill, Fluvoxamine (commonly known as Luvox), was effective in preventing death and reducing hospitalizations when taken early in the infective course of COVID-19. In this trial, which included 1,500 patients diagnosed with COVID-19, patients given Fluvoxamine were 91% less likely to die and 65% less likely to be hospitalized than those patients who were given a placebo.
Fluvoxamine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is commonly used to treat depression and OCD. Similar drugs include fluoxetine, also known as Prozac. These drugs are common, available as a pill, and relatively inexpensive. They have also been prescribed for many people for many years with relatively minor side effects for most people, and are considered safe.
It is believed that these antidepressants help patients with COVID-19 because they also have some anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties. These properties help protect patients from the side effects of an aggressive immune response that can cause complications for patients who have COVID-19, especially early on in their infection.
More research needs to be done to see if the results can be replicated outside of Brazil, and if combining the drug with other treatments might make it more effective. It is important to note that the drug was used after people were already infected with COVID-19 - it lessens symptoms of those already sick, but does not prevent the disease.
Ford Announces Vaccine Mandate for Salaried Employees
Earlier this week, Ford Motor Co., one of the largest employers in Michigan, announced a vaccine mandate for a majority of its U.S. salaried employees, becoming the first of the Big Three automakers in the U.S. to do so. The mandate will affect approximately 32,000 workers who will have until December 8, 2021 to become vaccinated or they may be placed on a 30-day leave without pay, according to CNN. December 8, 2021 is also the vaccination deadline for federal contractors. Currently, Ford reports 84% of its salaried U.S. employees are vaccinated. At this time, however, the mandate will not immediately apply to the approximately 56,000 hourly unionized workers that Ford employs. The deadline and scope of a vaccination mandate for Ford’s unionized workers will depend on bargaining and enforcement of an emergency rule out of the Labor Department of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration which aims to add vaccination requirements to private companies with more than 100 employees, though that rule is currently being challenged in court.