Taking the Kids: Kids, COVID-19 vaccines, and holiday gatherings
Likely, most kids won’t be able to be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving and it will be tight to make it by Christmas as three weeks are required between shots, and it takes two weeks after the second shot to be fully vaccinated.
Whatever the kids’ vaccination status, it will be impossible to avoid the topic when planning holiday gatherings. Kids also may be stressed by the disagreements over the vaccine between family members and friends. Older kids and teens may disagree with their parents’ as well, Dr. Schonfeld said.
The key is to discuss this with the kids in advance. Dr. Shonfeld said kids are used to adults disagreeing. Adults need to try not to put child in the middle and “help the child to understand,” why they have chosen to get them vaccinated (to keep them and their community safe), or not. “But there is no need to get combative,” said Dr. Kirkilas.
For the travel industry, meanwhile, and many families who have postponed travel, news of additional vaccine eligibility for kids is welcome news and likely will signal a big return to family travel. “A game changer,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Lines, which pre-pandemic carried more than a million children a year, the most in the industry. Though unvaccinated younger kids have been permitted on board (with additional testing required and limited “bubble shore excursions”), Carnival’s popular Club Ocean programs have been shuttered, with only teen programs operating for vaccinated teens.
Parents should be prepared that besides cruise lines, many destinations outside the U.S. require that a final dose of the vaccine be received at least 14 days before the trip and even those fully vaccinated may be required to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel. (Many insurance companies now are covering these tests.) Another negative test will be required before you can return to the U.S., which in my experience, you have to pay for. Some resorts, including Sandals’ family Beaches Resorts are covering these tests.
A growing number of restaurants — everywhere from San Francisco to Vail Resorts — are requiring vaccination cards for those eligible to be vaccinated. It’s unlikely younger kids will be required to show cards right away, however.
“If we can help children to discuss different opinions and be respectful of the differences, that’s probably one of the most important things we should be doing now,” said Dr. Shonfeld.
Stay safe this Thanksgiving.
(For more Taking the Kids, visit www.takingthekids.com and also follow TakingTheKids on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments. The Kid’s Guide to Philadelphia, the 13th in the kid’s guide series, was published in 2020, with The Kid’s Guide to Camping coming in 2021.)
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