NIH director walks back comments suggesting vaccinated parents wear masks at HOME to protect their unvaccinated children from Covid
- On Tuesday, NIH director Dr Francis Collins appeared to suggest parents wear masks at home to protect unvaccinated children from COVID-19
- He later tweeted that he ‘garbled’ his message and that vaccinated patents only need to wear mask in indoor public settings in areas with high Covid spread
- The CDC only recommends wearing a mask at home if a person is ill with the virus or if someone is in the same room as the sick person providing care
- COVID-19 vaccines are only authorized for children above age 12 but Pfizer and Moderna are hoping to receive approval for younger kids before the end of 2021
The director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has walked back comments suggesting all parents wear masks at home to protect children from COVID-19.
In an appearance on CNN’s New Day on Tuesday, Dr Francis Collins addressed a viewer’s question asking if the Indian ‘Delta’ variant has increased the risk of infection for youngsters and if children should not go out in public.
He said the best way to protect kids under age 12, for whom vaccines are not available yet, is to don face coverings both at home and at indoor public events.
However, Collins later backtracked these remarks on Twitter, saying he had ‘garbled’ his intended message.
On Tuesday, in an appearance on CNN”s New Day, NIH director Dr Francis Collins (above, far right) appeared to suggest parents wear masks at home to protect unvaccinated children from COVID-19
He later tweeted that he ‘garbled’ his message and that vaccinated parents only need to wear masks in indoor public settings in areas with high Covid spread
The CDC only recommends wearing a mask at home if a person is ill with the virus or if someone is in the same room as the sick person providing care. Pictured: A child and an adult wear masks as they sit on a bench in Central Park in New York City, April 2021
Collins told hosts John Berman and Brianna Keilar that it is ‘clear’ the Delta variant can cause serious illness in children, even as young as a few months old.
He added that this is one of the reasons why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its mask guidance and recommended that children wear masks in schools.
But he went a step further and said parents need to take steps to protect their unvaccinated children.
‘That’s the reason why the recommendations are for kids under 12 that they avoid being in places where they might be infected which means recommendations of mask waring in schools and at home,’ Collins told New Day.
‘Parents of unvaccinated kids should be thoughtful about this and the recommendation is to wear masks there as well.
‘I know that’s uncomfortable, I know it seems weird, but it is the best way to protect your kids.’
Collins later tweeted that he had mixed up the warning he was trying to convey.
‘Let me clarify the masking message that I garbled on @NewDay this morning,’ he wrote on Tuesday afternoon.
‘Vaccinated parents who live in communities with high COVID transmission rates should mask when out in public indoor settings to minimize risks to their unvaccinated kids. No need to mask at home.’
When the CDC updated its mask guidance last week, the agency recommended all Americans above age two to wear masks in public indoor settings if they live in an area with ‘substantial’ or ‘high’ transmission of the virus.
The agency only recommends wearing a mask at home if a person is sick with COVID-19 or if someone is caregiving for the sick person in the same room.
COVID-19 vaccines are currently authorized in the U.S. for children ages 12 and older but the vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech is the only option.
Pfizer and Moderna are both running clinical trials on kids as young as six months old with hopes of receiving emergency use authorizations before the end of the year.
But polls find that parents of children seem to be evenly split on whether or not their kids will be receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
One recent survey, conducted by CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at Michigan Medicine last month, found that 39 percent of parents said their children already gotten a coronavirus shot.
However, 40 percent of parents also said it was ‘unlikely’ that their children would be getting vaccinated.’