July 7, 2021

MSNBC's Kasie Hunt, who has a little boy, always seeks out useful information for parents about the spread of the delta variant of the covid virus.

Yesterday she brought on Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and assistant professor of health metrics science at the University of Washington.

"Dr. Gupta, let's talk about the big picture here and this is the one study and we do have the delta variant spreading here in the United States. How should people be interpreting what we just heard from Raf?" she asked.

"What I would say is, this is in line with expectations and this is what we've been saying from day one, that vaccines are intended to keep you away from the hospital," he said.

"And that's exactly what we're seeing here. I'm hearing numbers of 93, 94% real world effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine, of the AstraZeneca vaccine if you get both dose of AstraZeneca, and keeping you out of the hospital with the delta variant. Frankly, that's all that should matter. I'll also add the CDC came out recently, Kasie, about five days ago with evidence that even if you test positive for coronavirus after you're fully vaccinated, the chances you can transmit the virus to, say, an unvaccinated child at home is basically zero -- unless you're, say, in the immunocompromised category, so there are some exceptions to that. And for all the parents out there wondering, am I at risk of passing on the virus, I'm out in the world unmasked, but fully vaccinated? The chances that you can do that are still so extremely rare, and almost zero unless you're immunocompromised."

"I'm glad you brought that up, for those of us who are vaccinated and who are able to get the vaccine, how do I keep people around me safe and there does seem to be different concerns with the delta variant and children. Can you help us understand why that might be or what's going on there?" Hunt asked.

"You know, I think what we know is in exceptional cases, Kasie, of coronavirus, there is a worry that the delta variant may cause more cases of children ending up in the hospital. We're seeing Indonesia, Brazil, one in eight cases are children and those are less than 18 years of age ending up in the hospital. In some cases actually requiring ICU-level care. Is that because of the delta variant? Well, we don't necessarily know that. But there is this worry that the longer this continues to spread, the longer we have younger children unvaccinated, that we're playing potentially with a risky situation, because the delta variant is more transmissible, more lethal, we think across age groups.

"But again, just to reassure parents out there, the chances that you can pass on the virus to your children that are, say, less than 12 years of age, if you are fully vaccinated is exceptionally, exceptionally low, especially if you are not immunocompromised. We don't have enough time to talk about what immunocompromised means, but that's recent cancer, say, on chemotherapy, high doses of steroids if you have an immunocompromising condition.

"In that case, there is now evidence suggesting that if you are immunocompromised, you may actually qualify for a third dose of the vaccine before long, because we really think you might need that third dose to be fully vaccinated," he concluded.

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