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Will wearing masks matter if others don't? A North Texas pediatrician answers your questions as kids head back to school

Frisco pediatrician and Texas Pediatric Society president Dr. Seth Kaplan is answering popular questions sent to WFAA on social media.

FRISCO, Texas — Parents, what are you worried about before the start of school?

Frisco pediatrician and Texas Pediatric Society President Dr. Seth Kaplan is answering popular questions sent to WFAA on social media.

Q: "We are concerned that even if my kids wear masks, they will get (COVID-19) from others. Will wearing masks matter if others don't?" 

A: “It still does matter. We know that the primary purpose of wearing the mask is to protect others from getting sick from you, but there still is some protection from wearing the mask itself for the individual who wears it. Unfortunately, we still need a lot more research to quantify exactly how much protection that is, but it's definitely the right thing to do,” Dr. Kaplan said.

Q: Are the pediatric ICUs in our area filling up with COVID cases and RSV cases? Is that a concern? 

A: “Yes, it is. There have been times in the last couple of weeks where we've had little ones who needed an ICU bed and had to be sent far away from DFW to get that bed. So bed availability is somewhat limited,” Dr. Kaplan said.

Q: When will the Pfizer vaccine be approved for kids younger than 12? 

According to Pfizer’s website, “we hope to submit the vaccine for potential Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sometime in the September-October timeframe for children 5 to 11, and soon after for 6 months to 5.”

Dr. Kaplan said we may need to wait a little longer.

“The studies and kids under 12 are a little bit more complex because they're testing the dose of vaccine that's most appropriate for that age group. so the last word, unfortunately, was that it was going to be more like December or January.. But there's a lot going on behind the scenes related to that, and certainly the pediatric community is pushing that if they've got the data to show that vaccine is safe and effective that they move forward with that data earlier rather than later so that we can get as many people protected as possible,” Dr. Kaplan said.

Q: How are hospitalizations rates looking? 

A: “Things are not looking very good right now. Unfortunately, our children’s hospitals were already quite full with the explosion in cases of RSV over this summer. Over the last couple of weeks, they are seeing large numbers of cases of kids with COVID, but almost entirely, those are unvaccinated teenagers who are eligible to get vaccinated. So this really hopefully is a preventable thing if everybody who (is eligible) gets vaccinated,” Dr. Kaplan said.