With the rise in Covid-19 cases, children cannot be ignored. So do your best to keep your little one safe.
According to a study by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT Kanpur), the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by the new variant of concern Omicron, is expected to peak by February 2022. The country was alerted by experts about the inevitable third wave. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that Delta and Omicron are the “twin threat” types of concern that are responsible for record highs in Europe and the US. This has led to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths.
The Indian government has also noted the recent surge in new Covid-19 cases. All states have had to issue new guidelines to prevent its spread.
Covid-19: Spread of Omicron
The SARS-Co-V2 virus evolves over time to evade natural and vaccine immunity. They change at the genomic level. The new version Omicron has been found to be highly permeable. Its doubling time is 1.5-3 days as compared to 5 days with the Delta variant. Omicron has 34 mutations on the spike protein versus 8 mutations for the delta variant.
Does this make Omicron more dangerous than the Delta variant? We don’t know yet! It is certainly spreading rapidly in many countries. So far it is believed to cause mild to moderate diseases. However, hospitalization has increased the pressure on health services in many countries. But the mortality rate is reported to be lower than that of the Delta variant. Many cases are reported as asymptomatic, which is another reason why it is difficult to control.
Covid-19: How is Omicron diagnosed?
It is diagnosed as with other types by performing RTPCR for SARS-Co-V2. However, precise variants are identified through genomic sequencing, which is a demanding technology. Once a variant is identified, kits can be developed to diagnose it quickly by looking at a hallmark mutation.
Do vaccines stop Omicron from spreading?
All available COVID-19 vaccines modify the disease process. They reduce the severity of illness, hospitalization and deaths. A person can get Kovid-19 even after vaccination. But following proper behavior a person cannot get this disease.
Role of booster dose to fight covid-19
The immunity to the vaccine decreases over time. Therefore, experts have recommended additional precautionary doses to all front-line workers and people over the age of 60 who have any other serious illness. It will soon be started for the general public.
Covid-19: Does Omicron affect children?
Children in India have not been vaccinated on a large scale. They are just as vulnerable to the disease as adults. However, most children are less likely to develop serious illness. Most affected children may be asymptomatic or have mild to moderate symptoms. However, affected children can be super spreaders. It can be spread to other children with weakened immunity, unimmunized or partially immunized adults, elderly population, etc. Some of them can get very sick.
How can you protect your kids from Omicron?
Currently, there is no vaccine approved for children up to 15 years of age in India. The best way to protect your children is to ensure that all adults in the family and surrounding are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This should include all housewives, drivers, security personnel, teachers etc.
There is no shortcut to follow the guidelines of Kovid-19. Make sure children (above 2 years) wear a mask when going out, follow social distancing and hand hygiene. This will help protect children from disease. This is especially important for people living in large apartment complexes and closed communities. Adults should be role models for children by following COVID-19 appropriate behavior in the community at all times.
To prevent this disease, you children should:
- avoid public places
- COVID-19 protocol to be followed while visiting hospitals or clinics
- Preventing Crowds When Children Play Outside
- ensure good nutrition
- children cough
- to stave off a cold or fever
- Seek early advice from your pediatrician
Infants and young children under 2 years of age have weakened immune systems and are susceptible in the absence of available vaccines. Breastfed babies will have antibodies passed on from their mothers and protection against COVID-19.
Make sure all children receive age-appropriate vaccinations to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases.
Are there any COVID-19 vaccines approved for children?
Currently, Covaxin is approved for children aged 15-18 years. Some other vaccines are likely to be approved soon after the safety profile of children is established.
Read also: Vaccination in India for children is starting from today, know what you have to do