What top pediatricians want you to know about the delta variant and children
Between camp, vacations and the school year ahead, how safe are summer or fall plans for kids?
And on Monday, theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, recommendedthat all children over age 2 wear masks when they return to school this year, regardless of vaccination status. That contradicted the CDC's earlier guidance, which was that fully vaccinated students didn't need masks. Covid-19 vaccines have been authorized only for people ages 12 and up in the U.S.
July 14, 202102:29As parents have been preparing for camp, vacations and the school year ahead, families are concerned about how safe their summer or fall plans may be for their kids.Here's what top pediatricians said about what families should know about the delta variant and children.
Emergency use authorization of vaccines for childrenmay not come until midwinter, a Food and Drug Administration official said recently.Dr. Jim Versalovic, the pathologist-in-chief and interim pediatrician-in-chief at Texas Children's Hospital, said:"This variant is spreading like wildfire. That means that we have to be extra careful among those who are unvaccinated and partially vaccinated. We're very concerned about children under 12 who have no access to the vaccine right now." headtopics.com
Versalovic said doctors had seen a"very dramatic shift" in the last two to three weeks to where delta is now"by far the most dominant" variant among children.Dr. Jennifer Lighter, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at NYU Langone Health, said the delta variant, while it is"certainly more contagious," doesn't appear to be more dangerous to children than other variants. As of Thursday, more than 4 million children had been diagnosed with Covid-19, about 14.2 percent of all cases, according to the AAP. Versalovic also said,"We have no firm evidence that the disease severity in children and adolescents is any different with the delta variant."
Dr. Michael Green, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and medical director of infection prevention at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said getting vaccinated is"the most important thing that parents can do to protect their children" from getting the coronavirus in general, including the delta variant. Parents should consider encouraging other members of their families to get vaccinated, as well, he said.
July 20, 202102:31Versalovic said getting vaccinated was"the No. 1 tool in preventing and mitigating the spread and transmission of Covid, including the delta variant.""This is a race between the vaccines and the variants," he said.
What do experts say about in-person school?The AAP, which said it's important for children to return to in-person learning this year, recommended that school staff members also wear masks.The CDC and the AAP recommend in-person learning even as they differ over mask guidance. Some states have prohibited districts from requiring masks in schools. Local governments and school districts have the authority to make their own decisions about mask-wearing, even for unvaccinated students. headtopics.com
Versalovic said that while wearing masks was a politically charged debate,"it's certainly important to consider the importance of masking in schools, in addition to sanitizing."Parents with children ages 12 and older should also consider the amount of time between two doses of the vaccines, he said.
"Now is the time to consider vaccinating a child before the next school year," he said.Green said parents with children with underlying medical conditions or in states with low vaccination rates that restrict masks in schools might have much more difficult decisions.
"It is really, I think, a hard decision that parents have to make," said Green, who is involved in the care of children who have had organ transplants. Read more: »
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