What does new mask guidance mean for unvaccinated kids and their parents?


TOWN AND COUNTRY, Mo. – When the CDC announced fully vaccinated individuals could safely take their masks off in most settings, one group that did not necessarily breathe a sigh of relief was the parents of children under 12.

The CDC’s new guidance does not have any specific advice for vaccinated parents with unvaccinated kids 12 and under in their households. There aren’t any vaccines currently approved for that age group in the United States, which means the younger set needs to keep masking for the time being.

While children and adolescents who get infected by the coronavirus tend to have less severe cases of COVID-19, they can still get sick and spread the virus to others. Medical experts say unvaccinated people ages two and up should continue to wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household.

“Let’s say you want to go over to the grandparents’ house with … your 8-year-old. … They’re not going to be vaccinated for a while and they’re the only ones unvaccinated and everybody else is vaccinated,” Dr. Jason Newland, pediatric infectious disease specialist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, said.

“It’s probably really safe. Not 100%, because you could have somebody in that household who has had a transplant of some sort. Let’s say they had a bone marrow transplant or let’s just say their immune system is down. Well, maybe in that setting we don’t want to take the risk. We’re going to make sure our 8-year-old is masked,” said Dr. Newland.

The manufacturers of the three US-authorized vaccines are studying the safety and effectiveness of their vaccines in children, including as young as 6 months of age. Medical experts believe the vaccine for kids 12 and under should be approved within the next year.

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