The latest on COVID-19 with Dr. Josh LaBaer

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ASU’s BioDesign Institute has been at the forefront of the state’s fight against COVID-19. We spoke with the institute’s director, Dr. Josh LaBaer, about where we stand with the virus and what parents need to know now that vaccinations are approved for kids aged 12-15.

After FDA’s approval of vaccines for children ages 12-15, Arizona state sites announced they’ll start vaccinating children as soon as Thursday. According to Dr. LaBaer, parents need to know two things: children can get COVID-19 too and the vaccine is safe.

“When they do get COVID-19, most of the time it’s not too bad but there has certainly been a number of cases of children getting a severe outcome. It is a good idea to get them vaccinated, both to protect them, and also protect the people they’re around,” Dr. LaBaer said. “These vaccines are quite safe. The number of serious adverse events is extraordinarily low. It’s among the safest medications I’m aware of. It’s certainly safer than Tylenol. So, it’s safe to do for the kids. The quicker we get everyone vaccinated, the less of this virus there is in our community.”

Experts are doubtful that the U.S. will reach herd immunity in part due to vaccine hesitancy, however, Dr. LaBaer said that some are dropping their hesitance.

“We are seeing, slowly but surely, some of the people who initially were hesitant are now relenting and getting vaccinated. So, I’m hopeful we can convince more people to get vaccinated,” Dr. LaBaer said.

According to Dr. LaBaer, Arizona is still on the right path. With the help of the vaccines, Dr. LaBaer is hopeful of the future with COVID-19.

“I’m still quite optimistic that we’ll get back to life as we knew it. We’ll always have COVID with us, but I think it will be manageable,” Dr. LaBaer said.




Dr. Josh LaBaer, Executive Director, ASU BioDesign Institute

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