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Pennsylvania health officials urge eligible people with young children in home to get vaccinated

The Dept. of Human Services & Acting Physician General were in Harrisburg today to remind families that kids at still at risk for COVID-19.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Today, Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead and Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson visited the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg to discuss tactics to keep children under the age of 12 and their families safe during the summer.

Currently, children under the age of 12 are not eligible for any of the current COVID-19 vaccines and may not be for some time. The FDA said in a recent press release that while they had hoped to authorize shots for that age group by the fall – they now don’t expect to have that available until winter.

“While the statewide mask guidance has been lifted, it’s important that we continue to take steps to keep ourselves, our children, our friends and family safe. I urge everybody to get vaccinated and to follow CDC guidance so we can gather together safely,” said Acting Secretary Snead. 

Current guidelines from the CDC recommends that children between the ages of 2 and 12 and older children who are not yet vaccinated continue wearing face coverings in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere indoors when they will be around other people outside of their household. 

“COVID-19 vaccines are the best tools we have to protect against COVID-19 and any variants of the virus,” Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said. 

Dr. Johnson said the best way for families to protect their children from COVID-19, is to get vaccinated. 

"To protect them and give them the freedom to do things this summer and beyond – we need all of us to get vaccinated - to protect them and protect ourselves.”

As school approaches, the CDC has not changed updated their mask guidance despite the American Academy of Pediatrics calling for in-school masking for all kids regardless of their vaccination status. 

Dr. Johnson said right now Pennsylvania is continuing to follow CDC protocals. 

“Kids should be back in school, that’s the best thing for them…we are recommending following the CDC guidance...we’re working with our schools to make sure they have the resources they need to implement those measures.”