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Keeping Children Safe: How We Can Protect Children From COVID-19 While We Await Vaccinations

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - This year's Fourth of July festivities are back because more and more people are now vaccinated against COVID-19.

What about kids under 12 who still can't be vaccinated? What precautions should you take for them and what about getting your kids ready for school in the fall?

We asked Dr. Arvind Venkat, an Allegheny Health Network Emergency Physician for his advice.

First off, he says that obviously, most Fourth of July celebrations are outside, and that's very good news since it's harder for the virus to transmit outdoors.

While kids under 12 still can't be vaccinated right now, he says the risk for severe COVID illness for them is very low.

That said, he says in very large crowds, it may still be worth taking precautions for unvaccinated kids.

"Being outside and trying to reduce the size of the crowds that you are in is probably the best way to reduce the risk for those who are unvaccinated, including those who are under 12," said Dr. Venkat.

He says that kids in large crowds masking up is a good precaution.

"That is helpful, it's not going to be totally protective because what we know about masks is that it's both sides of the equation wearing a mask, so it's about other members of the crowd as well, which is pretty unlikely."

Now, young people who are 12 to 15 can get the Pfizer vaccine, and he says now may be the time to get them vaccinated if you haven't already.

He says since there are three weeks between the first and second shots, and then two weeks after that before someone is fully protected, that works out to be almost the time kids will be heading back to school.

Dr. Venkat does not think there will be a vaccine available for kids under 12 until sometime after school starts.

You can watch David Highfield's full interview with Dr. Venkat below.

WATCH: Interview With Dr. Arvind Venkat

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