COVID-19: Some Edmonton parents have mixed feelings about unvaccinated children

As we the near the Alberta government’s Stage 3 “Open for Summer” plan, which will lift virtually all restrictions on July 1, some Edmonton parents have mixed feelings about outings and activities for their children under 12 who remain unvaccinated.

“I guess I’m excited but also a little apprehensive that it might be a little too soon,” parent Kirsten Lal said.

Lal said she is looking forward to her three-year-old and one-year-old doing more activities but will remain selective with what they can do.

“If there is no masking in place, then I probably won’t be doing any indoor events right now,” Lal said.

As it stands, children under 12 are not yet eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s less of an issue for other parents.

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“My concern level has gone down quite a bit since it first started,” parent Nicole Teskey said.

“He goes to school, and I’m lucky that no one in this class has had COVID, so he doesn’t have to stay home. So far so good,” parent Conquest Oshin said.

One medical expert said with more adults being vaccinated, case counts are dropping, including in young people.

“We have to remember that children and teenagers do not get seriously ill from COVID and they never have and this is equally true for the variants,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Martha Fulford said.

Read more: Edmonton pediatricians encourage parents to vaccinate children as Alberta expands rollout

Despite youth not sharing the same impacts as adults, doctors are optimistic that vaccines for children 12 and under will soon be available.

“I would certainly hope September would be the month that these shots are approved for younger kids below the age of 12,” said Dr. Peter Juni with the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

Until then, Juni said if you plan a trip abroad and your kids are the only ones not vaccinated, that may hold you up.

“If we travel with children, the children would need to undergo the regular quarantine and would need to get tested repetitively, not just once,” Juni said.

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Regardless, some medical experts still recommend that children wear masks in public and indoor spaces, and opt for outdoor activities.

“As long as people continue to get vaccinated and continue to follow the public health guidelines, I think it’s going to be a safe summer spending time outdoors,” family physician Dr. Allen Grill said.

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