Dr. Pirtle encourages children be vaccinated

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Mississippi County Health Officer Dr. Valencia Andrews-Pirtle led this week’s Covid briefing and reported 199 cases in the county. Pirtle described the importance of children also being vaccinated once it becomes available.

“I know we’re still waiting on the approval for children ages 5-11 to get the Pfizer vaccination,” she said. “That [approval] has not happened yet, but when it does, I’m really hoping that parents will make sure that their child is vaccinated.”

Pirtle went on to describe how in some cases, children are bringing the virus home to their parents. She also noted how vaccines have softened the blow, and can continue to combat this scenario in the future.

“It would have been really tragic if a lot of our teachers hadn’t been vaccinated,” Pirtle said. “Thank goodness they did and have been able to stay safer this year. We don't want that virus coming home to parents and grandparents so it’s important that the little ones get vaccinated as soon as the approval comes through.”

While acknowledging that the Delta variant did create many more problems with the police department this year, Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson also reported that currently, no officers or employees are out due to Covid.

However, he also noted that in the cases experienced this year, the department also noticed a trend including children.

“It seemed like some of our officers who had small children were being affected this time. The children were actually becoming positive and later the officers would as well,” Thompson said. “That’s one of the more significant things I’d say about the Delta variant. The positive rate among children has been a lot more.”

Both Pirtle and Thompson also spoke of the increased flu season they’ve seen recently. Thompson even noted that while no officers are out due to Covid, one is sidelined due to the flu.

“People are wearing masks less than they were before,” Pirtle said. “People are going to football games and it’s a lot of them, so they’re closer together. I can imagine that you’re going to have some viruses exchanged, even outside, because people are so close. If we really maintain the mask, even in the stands, we’re going to have a better outcome.”

As always, both flu and Covid-19 vaccines are available at local pharmacies as well as health departments.

Currently, Pfizer is the only Covid vaccination approved for a booster shot. Those with underlying health conditions or environments can receive their booster now, while others are recommended six months after the second dosage.