Health Officials Urge Families With Children To Be Sensible About Summer Travel

Jun 22, 2021

Many families will take airplanes to summer destinations. Health officials urge them to take precautions, especially with unvaccinated children.
Credit Courtesy of Spokane Airports

Most school children are out of school for the summer. Now it’s time for summer activities. With Covid-related restrictions going away in Washington on June 30, many children will take trips, go to summer camp and do other things without masks. What is safe and what precautions should families take?

Dr. Mary Fairchok says the question of ‘to travel or not to travel’ with your children this summer will be a tough one for many. “People psychologically really want to travel and see friends and family that they haven’t seen.”
 
Fairchok is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at MultiCare. During a recent Washington State Hospital Association media briefing, she said travel this summer, especially with unvaccinated children, means parents will have to do some risk assessments.
 
“One thing that worries me is that, now that the CDC has said that you don’t need to wear a mask if you’re vaccinated, there are a lot of people who are vaccinated who are just taking off the masks because they can," she said.
 
That may not be a big deal for children 12 and older who have had Covid shots. But younger children don’t yet have that protection. Fairchok says the parents of unvaccinated kids should weigh the risks when they decide what kind of travel is safe.
 
“If possible, travel by car. If they’re going on a plane, then try to have a direct flight, not several different stops along the way. If their children are old enough to mask, then keep the air vent on, it helps with the circulation. Try to keep your six feet of distance in the airport. Plan itineraries for travel where you’re not going to be mixing in large groups, especially indoors. Try to do things that are outside, in smaller crowds," she said.
 
Fairchok says children who contract the virus generally don’t get as sick as older people, though many have had to be hospitalized and a small number have died.