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Keeping unvaccinated kids safe while parents get the shot

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 10:25 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s a great sign to have more shots in arms, but parents are now asking how to best protect their unvaccinated kids as fully vaccinated people start to shed their masks.

“This has not been an easy time.”

Dr. Vanessa Slots, Division Chief for General Pediatrics at Renown Children's Hospital

The FDA has given the go-ahead for the vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds. The CDC also says fully vaccinated people can ditch the mast in most settings. But those guidelines do not account for the tens of millions of children younger than 12 who don’t yet qualify for a shot.

“They are in those trials so hopefully as we’re coming into the fall, we’re going to see that availability come forward,” Dr. Vanessa Slots, Division Chief for General Pediatrics at Renown Children’s Hospital said.

In the meantime, she says when kids are playing with other unvaccinated children, they likely don’t need a face covering if they’re outdoors.

Dr. Slots added, “If they’re going to be inside or in a crowded place, I still encourage mask-wearing.”

As for traveling, parents can avoid exposing their kids to the virus by choosing a less risky option like driving, if possible.

“Airlines are still requiring the use of masks, regardless of vaccination status or not,” Dr. Slots said.

However, there are parents that are worried about their children wearing a mask.

Dr. Slots added, “There is no side effect to having a mask on. There are people who wear masks all day every day for their jobs, such as surgeons who have been doing this for years.”

Whether you’re a child or fully vaccinated, no one is 100% immune to COVID-19. If you’re unsure how to handle a situation, err on the side of caution.

“We just need to make sure our community is staying as healthy as possible.”

Dr. Vanessa Slots, Division Chief for General Pediatrics at Renown Children's Hospital

Sr. Slots also says parents need to make sure their children are up-to-date on their annual wellness checks and other immunizations, as many people put those doctor’s visits on hold during the pandemic.

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