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As School Year Approaches, COVID Developments Cause Concern For Parents

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- As we head towards the start of school there are a lot of questions for parents about COVID-19.

Adding to the concern is the news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that vaccinated people can actually spread the disease.

As they get ready for the start of school, parents are being bombarded with information about COVID-19 and the vaccine. The Delta variant has cases increasing in Minnesota and around the country. Children under 12 cannot be vaccinated, and the rate of teen vaccination is lower than health experts are hoping for. Just 35% of children 12-15 in Minnesota have been fully vaccinated. Forty-eight percent of Minnesota kids 16 and 17 have gotten their shots.

On top of that, the CDC has reversed itself on who can spread the virus. They had been saying for months people who are vaccinated could not spread the disease, now they say new data shows vaccinated people can spread COVID. Experts say that raises the risk for kids and adults.

The Delta variant has been also hitting children hard even sending them to the hospital. The most frequent reasons cited by parents for not vaccinating their kids is that they believe the vaccine is too new, does not yet have FDA approval and the long-term effects are unknown.

Pediatrician Dr. Hannah Lichtsinn was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.

"I understand the concern, and yes, these vaccines are somewhat new, but they're not that new anymore, and we have really good experience now," Lichtsinn said. "And I am confident as a parent and as a physician that they are safe," Lichtsinn said.

The Delta variant makes up more than 75% of new cases in Minnesota.

New guidance from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics says all children in K-12 should wear masks at school. It's up to each Minnesota school district to set their own mask guidelines. Several of the biggest school districts said they will announce their rules in the next few weeks.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Mike Augustyniak every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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