Are kids under 5 a COVID concern as holidays approach?

BOSTON — Now that children 5 years of age and older can get vaccinated, what about kids younger than 5 years? Can parents safely send them to day care, and what about the upcoming holidays with Thanksgiving a week away?

We took our questions to Tufts Medical Center’s Head Epidemiologist Dr. Shira Doron.

“Children do get COVID and they do transmit COVID, they are much more likely to be asymptomatic,” Dr. Doron said.

And in a day care setting, Dr. Doron says shutting down if someone gets COVID isn’t necessary.

“But outside of an unsafe staffing situation, I don’t think that we still need to react necessarily with closing at this point,” Dr. Doron said.

We spoke to Tiffany Sullivan, the director of For Pete’s Sake, a preschool in Attleboro, to see what they do.

“All of our children are masked while they’re at school with the exception of when they play outside,” Sullivan said \.

So far, they have not had to close due to COVID. And Dr. Doron adds that every year of age that decreases, the risk of an adverse event from COVID also decreases.

And the state’s latest COVID numbers show just 982 cases for children 4 years and under in the last two weeks.

“The risk to the unvaccinated child is still far lower than the risk to the vaccinated adult,” Dr. Doron said.

And the doctor adds the same goes for the holidays. If you’re mixing older vaccinated adults with unvaccinated children under 5, it’s a balancing act.

“Children are protected by their youth, and gathering with family and friends for the holidays is very important, and so, particularly if all the adults are vaccinated, I wouldn’t avoid those gatherings,” Dr. Doron said.

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