Unvaccinated kids still need masks, Wisconsin doctors say

The CDC said this week that masks need to stay on among those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Doctors who spoke to FOX6 News on Friday, May 11, said that is the right move for kids who can't yet get the shot, too.

Many families with children under the age of 12 are still waiting for CDC approval to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

"We’re gonna take it easy," said Jonne Thurman, who has a 5-year-old child.

"We’re very careful with them, they have their masks on now," said George Lange, grandparent of 3- and 7-year-olds. "Looking forward to when they will be eligible for the vaccine because that will make life a lot easier."

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"They need to be masked, they need to have social distancing," said Dr. Joe McBride, assistant professor of adult and pediatric infectious disease for the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. "Certainly, when they’re in a cohort of family members, with maybe a teenage sibling or cousins or vaccinated grandparents or those people who are protected, I think a lot of those restrictions can be loosened."

"Let’s be honest. We’re all ready to ditch the masks," said Dr. Michael Gutzeit, chief medical officer and vice president of Children's Wisconsin.

Gutzeit said, although the risk to children in the under-12 age group is minimal, there is a lot doctors are still learning.

"This is so important to continue to be cautious in those age groups that don’t have access to vaccines," Gutzeit said. "We do not know the long-term effects for kids, and though they seem to have been less affected, we still know that kids get infected and they can get COVID and it can affect them."

For now, it is best, they say, to play it safe – which is what parents like Thurman say they are already doing.

"Just still keeping him safe. He’s five, but he understands the importance of wearing his mask and things like that," Thurman said.

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