CDC Director Walensky: Children Under 12 Should Still Wear Masks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Thursday on PBS’s “NewsHour” that children under 12, who are not yet eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, should continue to wear face masks.

Walensky was being questioned on the specifics behind today’s announcement that those fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask.

Anchor Judy Woodruff said, “Another area I know there are a lot of questions has to do with children indoors, outdoors, children of all ages. We now know down to age 12, the vaccines are available. What about for young children? People are asking about summer camp, all kinds of situations? What’s the guidance now for them?”

Walensky said, “Right. So it is very clear that in the context of the last 24 hours, where we have a new vaccine now for 12-15-year-olds and now this new guidance being able to unmask if you’re vaccinated. We do need to update our camp guidance. That is going to be among the first that we are going to be updating. What I would say for the younger children, those who can’t get vaccinated right now, is that we would still recommend we treat them as if they are unvaccinated and that they should wear masks.”

Woodruff said, “And for them, outdoors, though, no mask. Is that what you’re saying?”

Walensky said, “Outdoors, right. So the same strategies really apply. If you’re outdoors, if you’re in small gatherings, if you’re mixing with people in your household or another household outdoors, same principles apply, then you could take off your mask in outdoor settings. If you’re wrestling, if you’re gathered over a soccer ball breathing heavily, lots of kids who you don’t know, we would still recommend masking in those settings.”

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