Dr. Mercedes Carnethon:
I’m concerned about that feeling, and it’s driven by what we actually see.
Certainly, we are in a better position than before, mainly because we have vaccines available for most children who are in the K-12 education range. However, what we don’t have is widespread adoption among families of children this age.
And, in fact, when we look at vaccination rates, they’re lowest in young adults and in middle-aged adults, who are most likely to have children in that age range. Also, removing the protective mask in schools, a place where children spend eight to nine hours a day, really puts them at risk of contracting it.
While most healthy children will not suffer from extreme illness requiring hospitalization, there are children in schools who are immunocompromised or whose family members are vulnerable. And we need to consider what we risk by using children as vectors to re-infect vulnerable members of our community and our school staff.