Vaccinated Parents Have Questions About Life With Unvaccinated Kids

by Kristine Cannon
dansinker/Twitter and SanyaSM/Getty

Here’s what experts recommend if parents are vaccinated but their kids aren’t

Yesterday, the CDC made a bold, swift move approving the removal of masks both indoors and outdoors among fully vaccinated people. And while that might be music to some’s ears (but not all), parents are still left scratching their heads, asking, “If I’m vaccinated, but my kids aren’t, what’s safe? What should and shouldn’t we do?” Until vaccinations roll out for children under 12, here’s what experts say.

For starters, let’s talk about when kids can be expected to get the vaccine. While an exact day or timeframe is unknown for children under 12, the Pfizer vaccine is approved for kids 12 and older.

Now, on to what’s considered safe and not safe by experts…

Indoors and unmasked

According to the CDC, yes, it is safe to gather as a group unmasked with fellow fully vaccinated people. That means you’ve received one or both shots, depending on the vaccine, and you gave the second dose the full two weeks to allow the vaccine to do its job. Kids can also be indoors unmasked with vaccinated friends or relatives, like grandparents, so long as they’re not high risk for complications. As for unvaccinated people, they must come from a single household and also not be at high risk.

Indoor play dates

Simply put, unvaccinated kids shouldn’t mingle indoors and maskless with unvaccinated people outside of their household. However, if a family from another household has already formed a pod with you, then you can socialize — but with no one else.

In general, indoor play dates are considered risky, and kids should wear a mask if you can’t take it outdoors.

“Indoor play dates are a significantly higher risk,” Dr. Nia Heard-Garris of Northwestern University tells NPR. “And so if you’re trying to organize a play date with multiple households, my strong recommendation is that it would be outside with kids wearing a mask and vaccinated adults.”

Traveling with kids

Yes, you can travel with unvaccinated children; however, they should get tested one to three days before the trip, and three to five days upon returning, as well as self-quarantine for a week — even if they get a negative COVID-19 test result.

“It’s not out of the question to go on a family vacation over the summer,” Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells The New York Times.

If your kid is at risk for complications from the virus, however, talk with your pediatrician first.

Dining indoors with kids

You can eat indoors at restaurants, but it’s recommended to leave the unvaccinated children at home, Malia Jones, a community health scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, also tells The New York Times. Instead, eat outdoors.

“You can’t eat with a mask on, and the restaurants will be full of other people who are of unknown vaccine status,” Dr. Jones says.

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.