Children and the COVID-19 Delta Variant

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is now responsible for about 70% of all the cases of COVID-19. It is more contagious than the original virus, and it is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated people.

The solution for adults and kids over 12 is easy: get vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccines protect against the delta variant. Almost everyone who is getting COVID-19, including the Delta variant, is unvaccinated.

But for younger kids, the situation is more complicated. If your child is too young to be vaccinated, keep reading.

Keep following the protocols

Unvaccinated kids should mask up, observe social distancing, and avoid crowded indoor gatherings. 

Unvaccinated adults should do the same. However, it is not possible to know whether people who are out and about have been vaccinated or not. Some families are choosing to continue wearing masks regardless of their vaccination status.

On July 27, 2021, the CDC issued an update to protect the unvaccinated including children under 12, recommending everyone wear masks in public in high-risk areas like Northwest Arkansas where the virus is spreading rapidly. 

Whatever you decide, make sure your children keep following the pandemic rules until they are old enough to be vaccinated. 

How is the Delta variant different?

As with so much information about COVID-19, we’re still learning. 

One difference healthcare providers are seeing is that people with the Delta variant are more likely to have symptoms like a cold, rather than like a flu. Headaches and sore throats are more common than fevers and chills. 

However, the Delta variant has been seen more in younger people. This is just because there are more unvaccinated younger people. Since younger people usually don’t get as seriously ill, the milder symptoms may just be the result of seeing younger victims. 

Some children are getting serious cases of the Delta variant, just as some children got serious cases of the original virus. It is rare. There are also complications associated with both the original virus and the Delta variant. All of them are very rare. 

It is not that the Delta variant is more dangerous for younger people. It is simply that younger people are less likely to be vaccinated. Click To Tweet

What about school?

The Delta variant is new in the United States and we are still gathering data. But it has been common in the UK since the beginning of the year. Children there have been in school during that time, and they have not seen large increases in school transmission.

There have been some outbreaks. The CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

If you have questions, ask your pediatrician.