A list of “tips for protecting your kids” in a segment Monday about the human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) on NBC News included the advice to have children “avoid physical interaction with unvaccinated individuals.”
NBC News anchors Morgan Radford and Vicky Nguyen reported on the early surge of RSV in many children’s hospitals ahead of what is expected to be a hard flu season as well as ongoing bouts of the coronavirus.
“75% of all pediatric beds across the country are already at full capacity as of upticks in COVID and RSV, and in the flu,” Radford reported.
The show put a list on the screen of suggestions to help protect children, including receiving the coronavirus and flu vaccines, washing hands and staying home when you feel sick. However, a notable tip included “avoid physical interaction with unvaccinated individuals.”
Though NBC medical adviser Dr. John Torres advised against “passing around the child” during the holidays to people “you don’t really know that well,” he did not directly advocate for avoiding interactions with “unvaccinated” people.
“The main thing is, number one, those who can get vaccinated against COVID and flu are vaccinated. It’s still time to get it even though Thanksgiving is a week and a half away. You can still get and give some protection. On top of that, if you’re around other family members, make sure people wash their hands. Stay home if you’re sick. You can’t overemphasize that. If you’re around people that you don’t really know that well, the old days of last year, passing around the child and everybody wants to hug and kiss the child, I’d avoid that this year or at least make sure people wash their hands,” Torres said.
However, Radford quickly joked about asking family members to be vaccinated for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis prior to family gatherings this holiday season.
“You are speaking my language. My husband literally sent an email to all the grandparents last night being like ‘Hey you guys mind getting your Tdap vaccine? Do you mind?’”
“There’s nothing wrong with doing that. That’s perfectly acceptable,” Torres said.
The segment promoted fears of what was referred to as a “tripledemic,” namely the spread of the coronavirus, flu and now RSV during the holiday season. Parents have grown particularly concerned over RSV as it commonly affects small children.
Although NBC News advised against interacting with “unvaccinated” people, several medical experts, including Dr. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, have acknowledged that the coronavirus vaccines do not necessarily protect people against infection and transmission.
Despite this, several people, including Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Lapado, were criticized for suggesting that COVID vaccines were not as effective as originally believed.
In October, a New York state Supreme Court ordered all employees who were fired because of New York City’s vaccine mandate be reinstated with back pay, finding that “being vaccinated does not prevent an individual from contracting or transmitting COVID-19.”