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Mixed vaccine households send mixed messages to families with kids

If the adults in a household are vaccinated against COVID-19, but the children are not - what does that mean for their family when it comes to staying safe?

ATLANTA — Expanded vaccine availability is welcomed news for all adults who want it. But a lot of people with children are left scratching their heads.

If they're protected, what does that mean for their kids? And what can they do to make sure everyone stays safe?

One parent told 11Alive this new dynamic confusing, annoying, and awkward. 

Rickey Oglesby and his wife said they always ask if people are vaccinated against COVID-19. 

"That's the first questions that's asked before there's any planning of any sort," he explained. 

They both are are. 

His school-aged children are not.

So, what does that mean for their family?

"I don't think there's any grade school kid who's unaware of COVID-19," Oglesby said. "They see it on the news. We talk about it in the house."

Oglesby's wife is a doctor, and he said they've been cautious since the beginning of the pandemic. He said not much has changed.

"We still keep our distance. We still wear a mask in public. Our kids do. They always have," he said. 

I asked people on Facebook if they plan to change their behavior once they're vaccinated, even when their kids are not.

The answers were really mixed.

Some people don't plan to get vaccinated at all. Others said having some people in the house vaccinated is a relief.

Heidi said they may eat at a patio during off-hours or see vaccinated family members, but they'll stay vigilant for their teen.

Tracy said it won't change anything until their youngest turns 16 and is eligible for the vaccine - they don't want to risk his health.

And Rachel said while she feels safer in public, she'll keep following the CDC guidelines to keep her child safe.

So, what are the guidelines exactly when the adults are vaccinated but the kids aren't?

If you're a vaccinated adult who wants to take your unvaccinated kids to see their vaccinated grandparents - the CDC says that's safe.

If you're the vaccinated parents of unvaccinated kids wanting to hang out with another family in the same situation, the CDC says it's better to stay cautious - keep masks on and stay outside.

If you're vaccinated and want your unvaccinated friend to come over and hang out with your unvaccinated kids, the CDC says to continue following safety guidelines - stay masked and stay outside.

If you're a vaccinated teacher and in a classroom of unvaccinated students - the CDC still recommends keeping your mask on.

Oglesby said all of those precautions are worth it to get his kids back to school in person.

"That assures them that, maybe next year there will be a school year where they're in class and safe," he said. 

He said they will get their kids vaccinated once they're eligible for the vaccine, though that could be a while from now.

11Alive checked with the Georgia Department of Health about their plans for vaccinating children in the state, and they said it's still too early to make plans because vaccine trials for kids are still in the early stages.

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