Updated: Feb 8
There are various ways to protect one’s unvaccinated children from COVID-19, especially those who have not received any vaccination. All the family members must be vaccinated first as after receiving anti-COVID-19 vaccines, there is a reduction in risk for contracting this disease and may also, cause a reduction in risk of its spread. One should ensure that everybody in the family who is either 12 years of age or greater gets their vaccines against the COVID-19 disease. One should prioritize wearing a suitable mask to increase the protection against the fast-spreading Delta variant and for prevention of its possible spread to others. Ask each of the family members including those who are vaccinated to wear a mask even in indoor areas in public especially if one is in an area with a potentially higher rate of transmission. Family members who have not received COVID-19 vaccination that may include children aged 2 years and above must wear an appropriate mask indoors as well as in public areas. However, one must remember not to put a mask on children who are younger than 2-years of age. Parents should avoid taking their unvaccinated children to public gatherings. It is essential to keep children away from crowded areas at least 6 feet/2 meters from anyone who is in close proximity.
Are your unvaccinated children safe from COVID-19?
Children under 12 years of age have not received any anti-COVID-19 vaccine, hence are extremely prone to catch the infection and spread it even in absence of symptoms. As per the previous data, children under the age of 18 years contribute to 8.5% of the cases and usually with a mild form of the disease. One should continuously make attempts to protect unvaccinated children falling between the ages of 2 and 12 years. One must always wear masks in public areas and around individuals with whom they do not live with.
Since the delta variant is highly contagious and break-through infections have been reported to occur even in individuals who are fully vaccinated, one must continue wearing their masks even when they are indoors.
One must opt for various protective measures for reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission within households. The first defensive mode is the administration of a vaccine to all the members of a household. Individuals who are vaccinated can continuously take care of their children as long as they are healthy without COVID-19 infection.
If a child falls sick due to the COVID-19 infection he/she must be isolated along with a single vaccinated parent in a well-ventilated room with an attached bathroom. This further restricts the spread of the virus among other family members. Since infection due to COVID-19 undergoes transmission mainly via air, following strict respiratory hygiene must be one’s priority.
Why Can't Children Get Vaccinated?
Children are at a much lower risk of developing a serious infection from COVID-19 disease. There are various ethical issues surrounding vaccine trials on children. However, any delay in this process may increase the chances of contacting COVID-19 among children. Anti-COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech has been approved for administration only among children who are 16 years or older while the Moderna vaccine is now under clinical trial for younger aged individuals. Apart from these vaccines, both Oxford-AstraZeneca, as well as Johnson and Johnson’s vaccines, are also scheduled to begin their trials among children as well. However, it remains a question that in this world wherein most of the vaccines are administered to children under the age of two years, why are children not getting vaccinated? One of the reasons that children are still not at the priority for receiving COVID-19 vaccination is that they are less frequently infected by SARS-CoV-2 compared to adults. In the United States, children constitute approximately 13% of total COVID-19 cases now. They comprise less than 3% of total patient hospitalizations and less than 0.21% of combined deaths due to COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 in children are similar to that of adults with cough, fever, soreness in the throat, and running nose but are of lesser severity.
If your Children Can’t Be Vaccinated, Who will protect them from COVID-19?
It is the responsibility of parents and caregivers to protect their children from contacting COVID-19. The priority is to get vaccinated as these vaccines reduce the chance of catching the COVID-19 infection and may reduce the risk of spread. Children were not included in the initial trials of COVID-19 vaccines as they have a weak immune system and immune response may vary depending on their age. Thus, necessary precautions that have been recommended in unvaccinated children include wearing a well-suited mask and avoiding taking children to public places. Parents should encourage their children to take precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 infection.
Tips on how to keep your unvaccinated children safe from COVID-19
There are a few pointers that can help you in keeping unvaccinated children protected from COVID-19:
Wearing any mask that covers the nose and mouth in public places such as airplanes, buses, trains, and various forms of public transport.
By avoiding crowds and maintaining a minimum 6 feet distance from a person.
Regularly wash your hands or use hand- sanitizer (60%alcohol).
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