W.H.O recommends vaccinated people keep masking; concerns over Delta variant raise questions about kids

Children’s Hospital doctor has advice for parents
Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 6:42 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - With the World Health Organization urging even vaccinated people to wear masks and to social distance because of the “Delta” variant, there are questions about kids who cannot yet be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

Some vaccinated adults say they are sticking with their masks even outdoors due to concerns about the Delta variant.

Jim Price was walking near a shopping center in New Orleans wearing a mask.

“I’m wearing it to guard against the new mutation that’s going around, it might not be the last mutation,” said Price. And recently W.H.O urged people around the globe not to abandon mask-wearing.

Dr. Mariangela Simao, is W.H.O Assistant Director-General.

“People need to continue to use masks consistently, being in ventilated spaces, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette – everything,” Simao said.

Given concerns about the Delta variant, there are growing questions about children who are not old enough to get vaccinated.

Dr. Mark Kline is Pediatrician-in-Chief and Chief Academic Officer at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. “So, for children under 12 years of age they don’t really have an option to get the shot just yet,” he said.

So, he recommends they wear masks and social distance.

“For right now we’ve got to mask up and still practice some social distancing for kids under age 12 because they won’t be protected and we know that they can become infected with this Delta variant of the virus, we know that they can get sick from it, we know that they can transmit it to other people,” said Kline.

Current CDC guidelines say fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks in most situations.

“My recommendation would be that if you’re not vaccinated at all against COVID or if you’re only partially vaccinated against COVID you should mask up just like we’ve recommended in the past. If on the other you’re fully vaccinated go without a mask in most circumstances,” Kline stated.

Dr. Kline was asked about people who are immuno-suppressed and immune-compromised.

“So, for people who immunosuppressed or immunocompromised all bets are off,” said Kline. “We think that the vaccines continue to afford some protection but it’s not an absolute thing and we can’t say for any given individual, so if you’re someone for example is taking chemotherapy for cancer treatment or who has some other type of immune problem probably the safest thing to do is to maintain social distancing and to wear a mask if you are around people that you don’t know have been vaccinated.”

The Delta variant has been very deadly in India and in Los Angeles, the health department is strongly urging recommending everyone to wear masks indoors in public places regardless of vaccination status.

Louisiana Department of Health Public Information Officer Mindy Faciane responded via email to FOX 8 in response to questions about W.H.O’s stance and whether LDH would revise its mask guidance for vaccinated individuals.

The statement reads:

“As of this past Friday, we have identified 19 Delta variant cases statewide, and we believe there are many more. In our FEMA region, it’s estimated that 25% of circulating COVID cases are Delta. This matches national trends, which are seeing a doubling in prevalence every 2-3 weeks.

The COVID vaccines are free, safe and they work against COVID and it’s even more dangerous variants including those circulating in Louisiana.

If you have not yet gotten the vaccine you, unfortunately, are at risk. We encourage everyone to enjoy the summer with confidence and consider joining the other 1.7 million Louisianans who have gotten the COVID vaccine.

And if you have questions, talk to your doctor or call the vaccine hotline where you can speak directly with a medical professional, get your questions answered, find a provider near you and if you’d like, get a vaccine appointment scheduled today.”

Kline says the message is clear to people who are not vaccinated against the virus and its variants: they are at risk.

“If anyone out there has been on the fence, needs a little extra encouragement to get vaccinated, this Delta variant ought to be it; it’s spreading very rapidly, it’s causing severe disease even in young people,” he said.

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