The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to make major changes in our everyday lives. And from mask restrictions to the vaccine rollout, the CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has done its best to clearly inform the public about new developments and recommendations for adults.
But as restrictions ease throughout the country for vaccinated people, many parents are left wondering if and how their children are affected, especially those who aren’t old enough to receive the vaccine. To help, we’re gathering all the current recommendations for kids (as of June 1, 2021), so you can find everything you need to know, all in one place.
The CDC recently updated vaccine guidelines for children, recommending that everyone 12 years old and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Much of their research has shown that although children can still catch and carry the virus, they are less susceptible to adverse reactions and visible symptoms. This makes it important for eligible children to get vaccinated, to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by young people who don’t know they have it.
The CDC is currently recommending that children receive the Pfizer vaccine. (They may also receive other routine vaccines at the same time.) The good news? The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been proven safe for children, and we know from intensive monitoring that vaccination works.
The CDC recently released new guidance stating that people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks in most cases. However, for families with children of different ages, especially children who aren’t old enough to be vaccinated, trying to plan for public spaces may be a bit more challenging.
The CDC recommends that any unvaccinated children 2 years old and older still wear masks in public when social distancing isn’t possible.
However, there are select situations where wearing a mask isn’t necessary, even for unvaccinated children. This includes:
• At home, with family (vaccinated or unvaccinated).
• Outdoor activities with members of their household, such as a walk or bike ride.
• Outdoor activities where individuals are socially distanced.
If your child is finding it difficult to wear a mask or keep their mask on, here are some things you can do to help:
• Practice wearing a mask at home where your child feels comfortable.
• Try out different types of approved masks to see if there is a particular mask that works best for your child. Practice relaxation techniques with your child; this may help if they experience anxiety while wearing a mask.
To help your child stay healthy and well adjusted as we navigate this new part of the COVID-19 pandemic, here are some things you can do:
It can be tempting to avoid most spaces where your child may be at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure; however, their doctor’s office shouldn’t be one of them. Even during a pandemic, routine care for children, including scheduled immunizations, is incredibly important. If you have concerns, it may help to call ahead to your doctor’s office, to find out what precautions they are taking to stop the spread of COVID-19.
With most of the past year spent social distancing, many of us have fallen into the habit of staying inside, enjoying our free time on the couch. But the CDC recommends that families continue to engage their children in school and community activities, even those that are indoors.
Keeping a schedule and staying active can have many long-lasting positive effects on your child's life.
Although restrictions are starting to be lifted, we aren’t quite back to normal yet. Some of the most important people in your child’s life may still be out of reach due to travel restrictions or safety concerns. So continue to find ways, such as video chats or writing letters, to stay in contact with loved ones.
When it comes to COVID-19, you may feel like just one person. But as a group, even the youngest among us can be a part of the worldwide effort to end this pandemic. (If you’re looking for a vaccination location for your 12-year-old or older child, visit our online vaccine locator, choose a location you want to visit, click “View Details,” and then call or visit the website of the location.)
Carbon Health’s medical content is reviewed and approved by healthcare professionals before it is published. But note that our knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 are developing and changing very rapidly; if you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 precautions, treatments, and vaccinations, please talk to your healthcare provider.