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Taking the Kids: On a vaxcation

Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

What about the kids? It was welcome news when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its travel guidance: Those fully vaccinated can travel at low risk to themselves two weeks after receiving their last dose. The CDC reports that a growing body of evidence suggests that those who are fully vaccinated are less likely to transmit COVID-19 to others.

Those traveling within the U.S. don’t need COVID-19 testing or post-travel self-quarantine as long as they continue to wear masks, avoid crowds, social distance and wash hands frequently.

It’s OK to finally visit – and hug – the grandkids, if you are fully vaccinated, and you can even visit with those who aren’t yet vaccinated from a single household without masks or social distancing, as long as they are at low risk.

Teens – and their parents – will be glad that in a growing number of states, from Washington state to Colorado to Connecticut, those 16 and older are now eligible for the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. (Check your state Department of Health or the New York Times, which tracks state eligibility based on age.

“…The benefits of relaxing some measures such as testing and self-quarantine requirements for travelers, post-exposure quarantine requirements and reducing social isolation may outweigh the residual risk of fully vaccinated people becoming ill with COVID-19 or transmitting the virus to other,” the CDC said.

If you plan to travel overseas, you will likely need to show a negative COVID-19 test as required by the destination as well as a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight back to the U.S., the CDC said. (Many resorts, including Sandals and Beaches in the Caribbean, are offering tests free to departing guests.)


But here’s the rub: Kids under 16 won’t be vaccinated until later in the year, though teens 12 to 15 hopefully will be able to get vaccines before the next school year. Pfizer-BioNtech has just announced that in a trial with adolescents, the vaccine was 100 percent effective and the company plans to ask the FDA and other regulators around the world for emergency use authorization. Trials with younger kids are ongoing.

Does this mean that if you have younger kids or grandkids, you can’t vacation together this summer? Not necessarily, public health experts say – as long as you travel smart.

“I get it 100 percent we want to get back to normalcy,” said Dr. Gary Kirkilas, an Arizona pediatrician and spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, “but we’re not there yet.”

As of April 1, nearly 3.5 million children have tested positive for COVID-19, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports.


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