DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- As families take their last summer vacation before the start of a new school year, their children are going unprotected against COVID-19.
Vaccine clinical trials are underway, but children under 12 are still ineligible for a COVID vaccine.
Dr. Adia Ross, the chief medical officer at Duke Regional Hospital is planning a family vacation of her own soon and is offering up her own safety strategies.
Q&A: How many new COVID cases in NC are due to the Delta variant?
"I think for us, what we're trying to do is be good examples," she said. "I'm wearing my mask with my children when we're inside or areas that are crowded. And then really trying to avoid large crowds indoors. We're still eating outside for most part."
Ross said while it's good to get out and travel for you and your family's mental health and sense of community, it's important to remember anyone who is unvaccinated is at a higher risk of infection.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children in North Carolina from birth to 11 years old have been getting infected at nearly the same rate, even outpacing adults ages 50-74.
Just last week, 21 cases for every 100,000 people in North Carolina were in kids ages 5 and 11, nearly double the rate of cases in adults over 75.
The Thakur family, while flying out of RDU International Airport with their 7 and 1-year-old sons, took extra precautions; their eldest wearing an N95 mask and a face shield while the parents resorted to frequent handwashing for their young toddler.
"Since things are spiking back up, we were like, let's get back on a plane and get back--get out of here before it gets crazy," said Arbind Thakur.
The family decided to cut their vacation short and return home to Austin as the Delta variant continues to spread.