MAGIC VALLEY — The delta variant poses a risk for many people, especially for those children who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
With kids going back to school soon, health officials in the Magic Valley say there are things parents can do to protect their children from the variant.
“If kids are unvaccinated, they probably really should be wearing masks, particularly around high-risk individuals. We should again be thinking about who we’re spending time with and who we are potentially choosing to put at risk," said Dr. Joshua Kern, Vice President of Medical Affairs for St. Luke's Magic Valley.
Health officials say getting those who are eligible vaccinated is one crucial factor in protecting children under 12.
“First of all, the most important thing is to make sure your family members are vaccinated. There are ongoing trials right now to find out whether or not we can vaccinate children under the age of 12, but the vaccine won't be approved until we find out it is absolutely 100% safe, and that could take a while," said Brianna Bodily, spokesperson for South Central Public Health District.
But until there is an approved vaccine for children under 12, officials say parents must continue to follow CDC guidelines to protect their children.
“Make sure they stay home when they are sick. Make sure that they are not coming around people who are sick. Make sure that when you go to family outings with other families, make sure those families are vaccinated so they aren’t putting your kids at risk," Bodily said.
Officials say even with the delta variant, children under the age of 12 are not at significant risk for disease.
Even the Multisystem Inflamatory Syndrome (MIS-C) cases the state saw last year were mainly in teenagers, according to the South Central Public Health District.
But their main concern with children contracting the delta variant is spreading it to those who are considered high-risk.
“Wear a mask if you are in large groups of people and you are not vaccinated or around any people who are not vaccinated as well. All of those things will help in preventing the spread and protecting all members of our family who cannot be vaccinated for one reason or another," Bodily said.