(WXYZ) — The extremely contagious Delta variant is causing concern for parents whose children are not yet eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
I am a parent and three of my kids are young energetic boys who aren’t yet vaccinated. That’s because they’re too young. The starting age for kids to get the COVID-19 vaccine is 12. My wife and I are cautious and we don’t take unnecessary risks. At the same time, it’s important that children see their friends.
Here’s my advice:
· The most important thing anyone can do is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible. This will really cut down the risk for young kids if they’re surrounded by vaccinated friends and family.
· Next, talk to your children about hygiene etiquette. Explain why it’s important to wash hands often and to sneeze and cough into the elbow if a tissue is not available.
· When parents are scheduling playdates, have them outside. It’s not only safer, but it’ll also increase kids’ activity levels, reduce their stress & fatigue and promote creativity & imagination.
· However, if playdates have to be indoors, try to avoid small rooms. Good ventilation will help.
· Also, I highly recommend masks for any indoor activity. Data has shown that masking is very effective and can reduce the risk of getting infected by roughly 50%.
Right now, Florida is averaging about 35 pediatric hospitalizations a day. And in Louisiana, pediatric cases in the ICUs are reporting patients that are only a few months old. The Delta variant is capable of causing serious illness in those who are young and healthy.
I’m also very concerned because cases in children are on the rise. Almost 72,000 kids were infected just last week. So I’d like to stress to parents that if your child is 12 and older, please get them vaccinated. So far, almost 9 million teens aged 12 to 17 have been vaccinated with Pfizer’s vaccine. Side effects are rare. Myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle represented just 4% of the reported side effect cases. A very small number.
If that still scares parents, listen to this. Another study found girls had a 21 times higher risk of Myocarditis while boys had roughly a six times higher risk after getting sick with COVID-19 compared with the vaccinated group. This to me shows that vaccination for teens is much safer than getting ill with COVID-19.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.
Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.