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You are vaccinated. Your child is not. What now?

We asked a public health expert to help answer some of your most pressing questions. As more parents get vaccinated before their children, some families find themselves in questions that seem to have no clear answer: having a date for indoor play is ultimately okay Is it? Can I take a summer vacation or fly? What if my child is at high risk? If this new and embarrassing reality adds to your stress, you are not alone. Maria Jones, a community health scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said: The vaccine seems to have provided a promising path from the pandemic, she said, “But oh my god, we have to renegotiate all of these situations.” The good news to sign up for the morning newsletter from The New York Times is the most common questions your family may have, based on federal guidance and what we know about Covid-19 risks. There are several ways to think about it. But keep in mind that what is right for a family may not be right for you. “When assessing risk, it is not” yes “or” no. ” It’s a framework, “said Dr. Lucy McBride, a Washington, DC-based physician, first. No one knows when the vaccine will be readily available to all children. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for use in children 16 years and older, but the coronavirus vaccine for younger children has not yet been approved. However, at the end of last month, Pfizer-BioNTech released promising results from clinical trials in adolescents, showing that the vaccine is highly effective in children between the ages of 12 and 15. It is difficult to predict how long the remaining clinical trials and approval process will take. However, Dr. James Conway, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, who oversees the vaccination program, said the vaccine is likely to be available between the ages of 12 and 15 this summer. Stated. For infants aged 5-11 years in late 2021 and over 6 months of age, toddlers and preschoolers in early 2022. Can I interact with vaccinated friends and family? If you are a fully vaccinated parent (ie, at least 2 weeks after receiving 2 doses of vaccine, or 2 weeks after receiving 1 dose of vaccine), US Disease Control Center Guidelines The Preventive Care Center says it is safe to take off the mask and spend time indoors with a small group of other fully vaccinated people. The CDC does not define what a small rally is, but public health officials usually cap a personal indoor rally of 10 people during a pandemic. If your child is nearby and you want to take off your mask and visit indoors with relatives like vaccinated friends and grandparents, the unvaccinated person is coming from a single household As long as the risk of complications is not high, children can visit safely. Can I interact with other people who have not been vaccinated? According to Dr. McBride, if a child is not vaccinated, it should not be masklessly mixed indoors with an unvaccinated person outside the home. There is a risk of infecting each other and others with Covid-19. The exception to this rule is when families form a pod together, where they interact with each other and no one else. However, “the effects of Covid-19 on children’s mental health are numerous, including anxiety, depression, isolation, and loneliness,” said Dr. Nia Heard-Garris, a pediatrician at Northwestern Medicine. I am. Therefore, it is important for the family to find a safe way to balance the two. “You can definitely play with other family members,” said Dr. Jones. “You should continue to take the same precautions.” If possible, hold an outdoor rally, keep physical distance, and ideally wear a mask. “We have not yet reached the stage where unvaccinated children can play indoors without wearing masks,” she said. Is it safe to travel with or without my children? Now that many adults are vaccinated, families naturally feel itchy to travel again — and even go on vacation. If you are fully vaccinated and want to travel without children, you can safely travel in the United States according to the CDC guidelines. You do not need to be inspected or self-quarantined before or after your trip. Return. It is unlikely that you will be infected with Covid-19 and will infect others, including your family. But what if you want to travel with an unvaccinated child? That’s a difficult question, but experts say it can be done safely as long as certain precautions are taken. Kaitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Health Security Center, said: Before planning your trip, check your state and local health departments to see if there are travel restrictions on where you live, along your route, or where you stay. If you have a child with a particular medical condition that may increase your risk of complications from Covid-19, it is advisable to first consult your pediatrician about your travel plans. Unvaccinated children should be tested for Covid-19 1-3 days before travel and 3-5 days after returning home. You will also need to self-quarantine for 7 days after your trip (even if the test result is negative). During the trip, everyone (except children under 2 years old) should wear a mask in public, 6 feet away from others if possible, wash their hands or use hand sanitizers, and be crowded. Should be avoided. If your child can tolerate it, Dr. Rivers suggested having a double mask with a surgical mask underneath and a cloth mask above while on the plane. Can I eat indoors or go back to the gym? If fully vaccinated, the CDC says you can resume activities such as eating indoors at a restaurant or going to the gym. According to Dr. Jones, if you have an unvaccinated child at home, you can go and enjoy these activities. However, keep in mind that these are still some of the highest-risk settings and it is very unlikely that a vaccinated parent will bring the virus home. Avoid these areas when it is crowded, wear a mask and keep a physical distance. Possible. Experts say that when unvaccinated children engage in this type of activity, it is best not to take them with them as they may be exposed to and spread to Covid-19 within the community. For example, in a restaurant, “you can’t eat with a mask on. The restaurant is filled with other people whose vaccine status is unknown,” said Dr. Jones. (It’s much better to eat outdoors if possible.) Take a deep breath — these decisions are difficult. Due to the fact that Covid-19, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal complications in adults, is usually mild for children and teens and often causes symptoms that are no worse than cold. , It can be difficult for parents to bother their heads. If you have any symptoms. “Children experience mild or asymptomatic illnesses on average,” said Dr. Rivers. Still, some children may be at higher risk of serious illness from Covid-19 than others. These include children and teens with underlying disorders such as asthma, diabetes, congenital heart disease, immune system depression, or certain genetic, neurological, or metabolic conditions such as Down’s syndrome. I will. Dr. Carmin Powell, a pediatrician at Stanford University, recommends that most high-risk children have no problem getting Covid-19, but discuss the safety of various scenarios with their pediatrician. To do. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Weigh the strengths and weaknesses and make the right decision for your family. “If people choose to stay conservative, that’s not a mistake, and if people choose to be a little more flexible, it’s not a mistake,” Dr. Rivers said. “It’s hard, but I think it’s good to have these issues because it means things are improving.” This article was originally published in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company