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Keeping masks handy for unvaccinated kids

Kids under 12 are still not eligible for any of the 3 COVID-19 shots on the market, putting them at a greater risk for catching the virus.

TOLEDO, Ohio — After over a year of lockdowns, mandates, and restrictions due to COVID-19, Ohio health orders are a thing of the past - for now. 

And while vaccinated people are in the clear, those who remain unvaccinated are still being advised to wear a mask.

While the vaccine is widely available, kids under 12 are still not eligible for any of the 3 shots that have been cleared for emergency use authorization by the FDA, putting them at a greater risk for catching the virus from other unvaccinated individuals.

"You know our working guidelines have been pretty straightforward, if you're not vaccinated, you need to wear a mask when you're out and that includes many children," said Dr. Patty Manning-Courtney, Chief of Staff with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. 

RELATED: Ohio lifts COVID health orders: What the changes mean for you

Parents should consider keeping their child's masks handy as well as their own for the time being. When it comes to travel, domestic trips are not something vaccinated families should worry about, so long as the proper protocol is followed.

"The tactics you can use here to be safe, apply to anywhere you might travel domestically, and I think we should really take an opportunity to give kids a shoutout right now because they've actually been really good at wearing masks," said Dr. Manning-Courtney. 

Summer activities like swimming are fine mask-less, but if you're heading into a big crowd, the recommendations are no different than they were 3 months ago.

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"But when they're out in crowds, at stores, out at events, they should be masked. We're of the belief they should be masked and parents should mask up along with them," said Dr. Manning-Courtney. 

For kids who are over 12, the Pfizer vaccine is proven to be effective and safe. Trials for younger children are underway.