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USF virologist Dr. Teng weighs in on safety around kids visiting vaccinated grandparents

While Dr. Michael Teng, Ph.D., says nothing that’s risk-free, there are steps families can take to make meetups safer.

On 10 Tampa Bay, we’re committed to keeping you up to date with all the latest COVID-19 news.

That’s why every week we are taking your questions to a local medical expert to talk about what’s going on. From the latest on where Tampa Bay stands with vaccines, to monitoring the COVID-19 variants, we’ll continue tracking information.

Dr. Michael Teng, Ph.D., is a virologist at USF Health.

Here are some of the questions we asked this week:

Q: Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is available in Florida, again but the CDC says it should come with a warning for women under 50 about a rare blood clot. Who should be considering the J&J shot over Pfizer or Modernas?

A: “Generally speaking, there are no specific risk factors we can detect that would say that you’re more liable to get this clotting disorder, and again, it’s pretty rare. So, it’s the comfort level of the individual, I think. For people who are worried that any risk is too much risk, this might not be the vaccine for them but for those people who understand that it’s a very, very rare trend, that the risk is really small and prefer this one-shot vaccine, then this is going to be a better vaccine for them.”

RELATED: Florida resumes use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine Sunday at FEMA sites

Q: Some states, including Florida, are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases in kids. What can parents do to combat this trend? 

A: “We only have our public health measures. We have masking, physical distancing, avoiding large crowds, washing hands and things like that. It’s really important for the kids to be protected with those physical measures, but it’s also important for the parents and anybody of age to get the vaccine in their households to be protected as well, because a lot of cases from the pediatric population, comes from the parents.”

Q: If grandparents are fully vaccinated and want to have their grandkids come to visit, does that pose a health risk?

A: “There’s nothing that’s risk-free. I think, if the kids haven’t been exposed to anybody who’s been coronavirus positive, if they’ve not shown any symptoms for a couple of weeks, I think you’re fairly safe. I think really the only issue is travel. If you’re traveling within the state, by car for example, with a single-family in a car, that’s fine. If you’re traveling by plane though, I’d be a lot more cautious about that because there’s always the possibility of getting infected in transit.”

You can send your questions to 727-577-8522 and we might answer them on 10 Tampa Bay Brightside.

RELATED: Florida coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, deaths, vaccinations and recoveries