DETROIT – Many parents feel anxious about the change in who is now required to wear a mask.
Children under 12 aren’t eligible to get vaccinated and likely won’t be able to receive the shot for several months. That means families are facing a lot of difficult decisions about what’s safe and what isn’t.
“I was really excited. I got my news update on my phone and I screamed and came down here and said, ‘Oh my gosh, the FDA approved it,’” recalled 13-year-old Megan Sims.
Sims was among the first of the Metro Detroit teenagers to get the Pfizer vaccine, but her 10-year-old sister isn’t eligible yet. Their father, Dr. Matthew Sims, is Beaumont Health System’s director of infectious disease research.
“People being able to take off their masks if they’re fully vaccinated is a good thing,” Sims said. “The problem is if people who are not fully vaccinated also take off their masks. That’s a potential for spreading the virus. and my daughter, Caitlin, she can’t get vaccinated yet.”
The family is concerned about Caitlin’s risk for COVID-19.
“If we go somewhere as a family and we decide, oh this is safe to not wear masks, she still has to,” Sims said.
So how will their family approach the next several months?
“Cautiously. Vigilance is still a big important thing here. Just because we can take off the mask doesn’t mean we always should,” Sims said. “If we went to a mall, for example, we’re probably all still wearing masks. Not just Caitlin, but all of us.”