By: JJ Burton Posted at 6:20 PM, May 18, 2021 and last updated 6:20 PM, May 18, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Freedom and no mask: that’s the reward for those who are fully vaccinated, according to the new coronavirus guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Director Rochelle Walensky said she based her decision on science and the fact that kids 12 and older can now get the vaccine.

But, what about kids younger than 12? Parents are worried because there’s no vaccine for those kids yet.

“There’s some level of concern,” Dr. David Berger, of Wholistic Pediatrics and Family Care, said. “But we know children are the least likely to get sick at all. There are rare cases of that.”

Dr. Berger said it’s good for parents to be cautious, but it’s safe for kids to go outside without a mask. It’s always safe to wear a mask indoors, though.

“That’s what we do,” said Ana Quintero.

Quintero and her 3-year-old son had a playdate with a few friends in the parking Tuesday morning.

“He wants to come to the park all the time,” she said.

Her son isn’t old enough for the vaccine. She said he doesn’t like wearing the mask, but he has gotten used to wearing one in public buildings, like a grocery store.

“I feel safe outside.”

But, with only 40% of Americans fully vaccinated, some local parents are questioning the safety of summer camps.

RECOMMENDED: LIST: Tampa Bay area summer camps

“It comes back to what are the leaders of the camp doing? What are their policies? How are they educating and training their staff,” said Dr. Berger.

Most of the local camps are keeping their current COVID-19 guidelines. For places like the YMCA and Largo’s summer camp, masks are optional indoors, and kids don’t have to wear them outside.
Employees will go through COVID-19 training. Campers in Largo will be required to wear masks on bus field trips. Most camps also plan to follow similar quarantine protocols local schools have in place.

“That seems very wise,” said Dr. Berger.

As for summer vacations, doctors say it’s safe for unvaccinated kids to travel, but do your research first and make sure you follow the rules. For example, you still have to wear masks to fly, take a train or cruise.


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