DETROIT – The more contagious delta COVID variant is gaining steam in the United States, especially in areas with lower rates of vaccination.
Health officials are warning that parents with children who are still too young to be vaccinated need to be paying attention to the risk.
Those that are vaccinated likely have a high degree of protection against the variant, health officials said.
“(If you aren’t vaccinated) then you are in trouble. This is a serious threat and we are seeing it spread among unvaccinated people,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said.
For unvaccinated children experts said the risk varies depending on your community and whether those around your child are vaccinated.
“Is there a lot of virus spreading in your community? Are vaccination rates high or low in your community? Are you in a job, for example, or work setting where you’re exposed to a lot of people who are unvaccinated and who may be carrying the virus and who are unmasked,” Murthy said.
She said it’s reasonable for parents to consider wearing a mask and if the children are old enough to wear a mask they should when they’re indoors.
“This requires parents and really anyone to have some situational awareness of what their region looks like, what their state looks like, what their county looks like in terms of vaccination rates and delta variants,” Murthy said.
The Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases said caregivers and other family members should be fully vaccinated if they are around a child younger than 12.
Until there is an authorized vaccine for younger children health officials want parents to be vigilant. Health officials urge parents to get children over the age of 12 vaccinated as soon as possible.