The White House on Thursday rolled out a host of new policies aimed at getting more Americans vaccinated for COVID. The new rules—including vaccination mandates for federal workers and contractors, health-care facilities that receive federal support, and businesses with 100 or more employees—could help to nudge the roughly 80 million Americans over the age of 12 who haven’t gotten jabbed.
But the policies don’t apply to the nearly 50 million Americans under 12 years old. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration might still be months away from approving a COVID vaccine for under-12s. And as long as these kids can’t get vaccinated, the country could struggle to reach population-level “herd immunity.”
Generally speaking, COVID is less dangerous to children than adults. The older you are, the greater your chances of developing a serious infection that could result in hospitalization—or, worse, death. But that doesn’t mean under-12s don’t transmit the disease.