As the NYC public school system now requires TDaP vaccine for all 11-year-olds entering 6th grade, we have plenty of both the VFC and the non-VFC TDaP.
Hepatitis A and second chicken pox vaccines are strongly recommended by the Health Department (first chicken pox vaccine has been required for a while).Â There is, however, a nationwide shortage of the chickenpox vaccine, and we have run out.
The story is even more complicated regarding flu vaccine.Â The popular Flumist (nasal flu vaccine, not a shot) may or may not be available this season at all.Â The shots should be available, but the 6-to-36 months variety should be available first, followed by the 3-year-and-over variety, and as before, we may see big differences in VFC and non-VFC vaccine shipping times.Â We have had a number of complaints about it last year, and would urge all parties concerned to call Health Department to make VFC vaccine available as early as possible, as they are ultimately in charge of it.
As the school season approaches, I would urge everyone to read last year’s posts, either at the bottom of this page, or on the next.Â As nothing has changed in the school system, I expect to see the same problems this year as well.
In my work as a pediatrician, every once in a while I am privileged to be asked to see a child of a military or law enforcement officer. Even if sometimes they do not identify themselves as such, there is often a moment when their professional identity becomes apparent. It usually goes like this:
There are many things in my practice which I prefer to leave to experts, and it isn’t just brain surgery. Psychological and behavioral issues are complex enough to need not one but many specialties in medicine: psychology, psychiatry, behavioral and developmental pediatrics, neuropsychology — and, being a general pediatrician, I try stick to what I know.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words; a moving picture, then , is at least ten thousand. Not being the fastest typist, I combed the cyberspace for the finest pre-recorded answers to common questions regarding teenagers, their care and feeding, and how to survive what seems like the longest years of their — and your — lives.Â A sense of humor is essential in dealing with teens; the answers are meant to stimulate this, rather than being taken literally.Â For technical reasons the videos are embedded as comments. Enjoy!
Yes, that’s right, kennel cough. Yes, I know that’s what puppies get when you lock them up all day in overcrowded conditions with many of them sick to begin with. So what does this have to do with pediatrics? I am glad you asked.
Let’s get one thing straight:
All flu is bird flu.Â Practically all new strains of influenza originate in China because that’s where the two species that get flu the most — pigs and ducks — live by the millions in close proximity.Â Every time a duck gets the flu from a pig, or pig from a duck, the flu virus changes slightly; and when one of these infects a farm worker, the new strain crosses over into the human population.Â It is by monitoring influenza emergence in China that each year’s flu vaccine is prepared.Â So far, over the last 30 years or so, predictions have been very accurate, with only one recent strain mutating somewhat on the way to the US — with the vaccine retaining partial efficacy.Â Still, of those not getting the vaccine, tens of thousands still die each year from complications of influenza.
Is there anyone in New York who does not remember what they did that day?
A few minutes after nine in the morning, as I drove to Brooklyn Hospital, I rounded the curve on the Belt Parkway where it sweeps past Owl’s Head Park and came face to face with a column of smoke. The traffic was moderate, many cars having pulled over, drivers and passengers watching in shock. I drove on.