'Vaccinating children… gives them a hope of a lifetime of being free of those permanent long-term disabilities associated with COVID': Doctor
Dr. Calvin Sun,The Monsoon Diaries Founder & CEO, Clinical Assistant Professor and Attending Physician in Emergency Medicine in NYC, joined Yahoo Finance Live to break down outlook of Biden's July 4 vaccination goal.
SEANA SMITH: Taking a look at where things stand in the pandemic, we're seeing a slowdown in vaccinations across some states. And that, in turn, is putting at risk President Biden's goal of getting 70% of US adults vaccinated by July 4. So we want to talk about this with Dr. Calvin Sun. He's the Monsoon Diaries Founder and CEO, also clinical assistant professor and attending physician in emergency medicine throughout New York City.
Dr. Sun, it's great to have you back here on Yahoo Finance. So several states here falling well short of that 70% goal that we were hoping to get nationwide. From your view, I guess, at what point does this put us at increased risk here that we could potentially see another wave if we don't get to that 70% goal?
CALVIN SUN: The longer that you wait before you reach herd immunity, and whether that's by vaccinations, which means fewer people die, or you let people get infected, which means a lot of people die, you run the risk of increasing the chances of a mutation to occur to then create a new variant that very well may escape the coverage of our current vaccinations.
We've been extremely lucky so far or fortunate or that the design of the vaccines that we have cover ahead from most of the variants that have occurred so far. But now we're hearing about double mutants, and these can only be created by unvaccinated people who get infected. So the longer we wait, the more likely we will repeat what we went through the last year.
JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, I want to get your take on the-- President Biden's rollout of the vaccine sharing program. We were just talking with the Sanofi CEO earlier. They have a vaccine out that can exist in temperatures that exist in a normal refrigerator. How do you see the vaccine sharing program rollout throughout the world?
CALVIN SUN: It really depends on a supply chain and distribution model that is different based on the region of the world, and also what is still existing or surviving after this past year. The supply chain is very tricky in how to distribute and get the vaccines into people's arms, and let alone the respective information campaigns that every country has and has to do in order to create vaccine confidence.
And every community is different in their-- the belief in or disbelief of certain vaccination programs. And every country has to be able to not only get the vaccines to where they need to be, but also convince people to receive them. So it's very complicated, and we can go a lot about supply chain and market economics on getting these vaccines out before they expire.
SEANA SMITH: Doctor, there was an alarming headline today that caught my eye, and it was the CDC urging parents of children who are 12 years and order to get vaccinated, because we're seeing more and more people within that age range end up in the hospital from COVID. Can you help us better understand what's going on and why we're seeing this trend of more younger people ending up in the hospital now?
CALVIN SUN: So when you get infected with COVID, there is no age distribution that you should focus on. I've seen very, very sick people who are elderly, and I've seen extremely sick people that I've intubated or sent to the ICU, remember, as early as March and April who had strokes at-- as young as 33 or 30 years old or even younger. And they had no risk factors, and they had no medical history.
And you just don't want to run that risk or have that chance of catching COVID, because the risk of clotting, the risk of permanent deficits, the risk of not being able to smell or taste ever again is much higher when you catch COVID as opposed to getting vaccinated. And vaccinating children prevents that known possibility of permanent deficit death when it comes to COVID. So to vaccinate them gives them a hope of a lifetime of being free of those permanent long-term disabilities that are associated with COVID.
Let alone they can also be carriers when they run around and they infect other people not knowing as well as-- you know, the importance of wearing masks or staying put or social physical distancing. So you don't want to have a 12-to 15-year-old carry COVID and give it to grandma, and she'll never be able to live long enough to see the 12, 5, 15-year-old graduate from college or get married. So vaccinating them prevents that. You know, you don't want that to happen and realize you could have done more, that there is just more that you could have done to prevent that unfortunate outcome. So why not vaccinate them?
JARED BLIKRE: Well, I want to ask you now about fungal pneumonia, something that sounds rather alarming to me. I've seen it pop up recently. What's your take on it? Should people be alarmed about it? And in fact, is it something that we should be concerned about?
CALVIN SUN: Mucormycosis, whew. If you want to give yourself nightmares, try to Google image that-- people who have mucormycosis, like especially the picture of the people with the eyes. It's really bad. And yes, you should be scared of it. It's what I give-- it's what I have nightmares of when I see immunocompromised people get sick, because you're not only getting bacterial and viral, but we also get fungal infections.
And they're usually associated with people who are immunocompromised or they received something like steroids, which are so important to keeping you alive in terms of breathing. So if I had a respiratory distress, a patient that couldn't breathe, whether it's from asthma or allergies, giving steroids is fine, because they're usually have a robust immune system, so they won't get a fungal infection. But now they're that infected with COVID and they can't breathe, you have to give the steroid because if they can't breathe, they die that day.
But then they actually run the risk of now they can breathe, but because they have the steroid and COVID, they're immunocompromised, and now they're more likely to get a fungal infection, especially in communities where that is more prevalent. And this is why we are very careful in not just giving a Z-Pak to everyone. That's why we don't give antibiotics willy-nilly unless we have a confirmed diagnosis with infection.
This is what happens if you give too many antibiotics that are resistant, you know, that create this super infection or co-infections or other things. And as a result, we just want to be very careful in how we treat our patients. More often than not, I don't want people to be scared of steroids, but just keep in mind that once you have COVID and you need steroids to breathe, which is absolutely totally indicated and necessary, you are-- it's no free lunch.
There is a possibility of risking a fungal infection that manifests and takes advantage of a human body that now is immunocompromised from not only the steroids, but also a co-infection with COVID or maybe taking antibiotics for other things and among just being in a community that-- where fungal infections are prevalent, such as India.