Local doctor recommends children under 12 continue to wear face masks

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Children as young as 12 years old can now receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but children younger than that do not qualify just yet.

One mother in Fresno is allowing her children to play in public but with a few rules in place.

"My oldest is three and a half, so she's old enough she wear a mask," says Sara Beutner. "My youngest is one. I'm wearing a mask so my oldest can see that other people are wearing and she's not alone."

The CDC recently extended the approval of the COVID-19 vaccination to children ages 12 to 15 and provided new mask guidelines for vaccinated individuals.

While the rules allow for additional levels of freedom, parents are left wondering what to do with their younger children.

Dr. Hailey Nelson with Valley Children's reminds parents that their kid is still at risk.

"I recommend anyone who is not vaccinated, that really includes our children under the age of 12 who are able to wear a mask, to continue to do so," she said.

Dr. Nelson says there are more cases of the common cold and other pediatric illnesses.

So she suggests parents be wise about how to choose to engage with other children.

"If children are playing together, are they feeling well," she said. "That's one of the things we've learned in this pandemic - if you don't feel well, please stay home."

"If you feel like your children are at risk, you should be able to get the vaccine if you feel like that's right," says Amanda Greager. "I personally don't feel like my children are at risk, so I don't think it's necessary and I'm not worried about them being around other kids."

Greager says her kids are well and believes her children are at a lower risk of catching the virus than senior citizens.

"My hope is for children to go back to school with no mask, full-time," she said. "Just like regular children."
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