FORT WORTH, Texas — COVID-19 cases have trended down in North Texas, vaccines are becoming more prevalent (Texas opened vaccines to all people 16 and older on March 29) and vaccinated people are starting to gather with other vaccinated people. But children are still unable to receive the vaccine, as it hasn't been approved for people under 16. So what are parents to do as we head into Easter weekend, a time in which families are hoping to gather safely?
WFAA spoke with Dr. Justin Smith, a pediatrician with Cook Children's, who answered some of the biggest questions you might have (emphasis added by WFAA).
Are kids safe if all adults in the room are vaccinated?
"I think if all the adults in the room are vaccinated, it does increase the safety for the children who are there and it does allow us to make some choices that we wouldn't have been able to make before the vaccines were available," Smith said.
What about if the majority of adults are vaccinated?
"The answer to that is: anybody who's in the room who's not vaccinated could potentially bring the disease into the house," he said. When asked about children from other families, the doctor said this:
"Other children who are involved do complicate things, particularly depending on what their activities are, so if there’s someone participating on team sports or other activities where they’re unmasked around others, then their risk of contracting the disease and bringing it to the gathering is higher."
Are outdoor Easter egg hunts a good idea?
"For that, I do think probably the risk outweighs the benefit of gathering in large groups where social distancing is going to be challenging and it's likely there will be a lot of people unmasked," Smith said. "I would say that gathering in large Easter egg hunts, large festivals, that’s still something I would say I would not feel comfortable with my kids or my patients doing at this point."
Is it safe to take kids to church for Easter services?
"I do believe most of the churches that are continuing to practice COVID-safe policies are reasonably safe places if they continue to follow those as instructed. I think the big question is the size of the crowds," he said.
What about flying with kids for Easter?
"We've seen not a whole lot of cases contracted through airports and airplanes," the doctor said.
He added that families should exercise great caution this weekend and for the near future.
"We are closer to the end of this than we've ever been, and I think we can make decisions for a short-term now that could potentially get us to the end. And so I'm nervous about really trying to get back to normal right now when it feels like we're so close, because I'm afraid it could set us back."