Media Criticism

Mom Won't Let Her Vaccinated 15-Year-Old Go to Summer Camp, and Slate Agrees

A bad response from the magazine's parental advice column


Michelle Herman is Slate's parental advice columnist. Earlier this week, she answered a letter from a mother who was worried about sending her 15-year-old daughter to summer camp.

Importantly, the teen is fully vaccinated, but the mom is concerned because they "live in an area where many people aren't getting vaccinated—mostly by idiotic choice—and neither the camp nor the college is requiring proof of vaccination."

"Nor is there a mask mandate!" added the mom.

This fear is understandable: COVID-19 is a terrible disease that has claimed the lives of more than 600,000 Americans. Government authorities discouraged nearly all social interaction for a year in order to slow the spread of this disease, and many people are just beginning to feel comfortable seizing the reins of normal life again.

Herman thus occupies an ideal position as a knowledgable expert; she could have empathized with the mom while explaining that it is completely safe for her vaccinated teenager to attend summer camp. But that's now how she responded:

You are not being ridiculous. Teenagers are at greater risk than was previously thought, as this story in the New York Times and this one in the Washington Post make clear. If the camp is not requiring that all attendees be vaccinated—and, good lord, not requiring masks either—then you should not let her go.

This is misleading. (Arguably, it constitutes misinformation.) Whether or not teenagers are at "greater risk" than previously thought—and keep in mind, U.S. coronavirus deaths in the under-18 age group total about 300, vs. 600,000 overall—is irrelevant to the mother's question. Her kid is vaccinated, and vaccinated teenagers are at no statistical risk whatsoever. The vaccines are extremely effective at preventing severe illness, eliminate the chance of death almost entirely, and make transmission very unlikely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been very clear on this: Director Rochelle Walensky has said that individuals who are fully vaccinated do not need to engage in social distancing or mask-wearing because they are safe from COVID-19. It doesn't matter if they are surrounded by unvaccinated people. Those people are still at risk; the vaccinated are not.

Herman's outrage that a summer camp would not require masks is misplaced, and counter to the CDC's own guidance, which was recently softened. Masks are a precautionary measure for the unvaccinated, not something that everyone must wear for the rest of their lives.

The mother who wrote the letter expressed concern that her daughter would hate her forever if she refused to authorize the camping trip. The teen should probably redirect some of that anger at Slate magazine.

NEXT: Repealing the 2002 AUMF Won’t Be Enough To End Forever Wars

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Anyone who cites the New York Times and WAPO as authoritative sources should be ignored, anyway, especially about Covid. They’re been trying to gen up fear and panic since early 2020. They want you scared so you’ll obey your betters (that being Democrats).

    1. You just said 90% of reason writers can be ignored. Not going to disagree though.

      1. Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings DS are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
        on this page…..VISIT HERE

  2. Somebody actually went to Slate for advice? Or is this one of those penthouse letters to stroke the audience.

    1. Why should I have to leave my bubble for parental advice?

    2. “Mask” is a euphemism for condoms, and “Covid” is a euphemism for teenage pregnancy, which is what the mom is really worried about.

    3. I didn’t think anyone read Slate.

      1. NPR Totebag crowd does. Hence the article.

      2. Says the guy who posts links to The Atlantic all the time.

        At least you dont post links to Kos and Media Matters like Jeff.

        1. Atlantic writes some decent stuff at times. What, pray tell, are your go to sources Jesse? I’d love to hear.

      3. “De Oppresso Liber
        June.16.2021 at 8:23 pm

        “I didn’t think anyone read Slate.”

        Hey, asshole, haven’t seen you around!
        Still looking for that single cite where Ken lies or are you willing to admit you’re a lying pile of lefty shit?
        Yes, when lefty assholes like you flat out lie, I do have a long memory. Put up or STFU, asshole.

        1. Rummy flag

    4. Slate is Penthouse Letters for sexless progs

  3. You mean a writer at slate is retarded? Say it ain’t so

  4. I swear every Reason article I read that has anything remotely to do with the coronavirus won’t stop jamming it down our throats that “the vaccines are incredibly effective.” If they are so incredibly effective, why do you have to keep reminding us that they are? Who are you trying to convince? Seriously. Besides, you’d have much more credibility talking about how effective previous infection is at inducing immunity. But maybe that doesn’t jive with the agenda.

    1. If the vaccines are “incredibly effective” why do people care whether people so totally unconnected to them have had a vaccination or not? If you have been vaccinated, why worry?

      1. Exactly. If you’re vaccinated, go swimming in Covid lake.

        1. They are effective but they are not magic.

      2. I am vaccinated, and I am not worried if you are not. I can’t give it to you, you can’t give it to me.

      3. Suns chris Paul may have to miss half the WCF because he tested despite being asymptomatic and got the vaccine in March.

        1. Some consider Paul’s infection a matter of karmic payback for him being a whining, cheating abuser of officials throughout his entire career.

          Others question if this “karmic justice” theory could be true, noting that James Harden has not died from karmic Double Cancer Ebola Covid.

    2. I don’t understand the point here…. the Covid vaccines are generally quite effective. If your benchmark is getting deathly ill, then they are almost perfectly effective.

      You allude to prior infection – that is certainly something conspicuously absent from the discussion. Absent to the point of being suspiciously close to disinformation… having survived the infection is surely a more certain form of immunity than the vaccine. But I don’t know what the point is here. This is about an advice column that says “don’t send your vaccinated kid to summer camp if they don’t require masks”. It is such a stupid answer that we don’t even get to the merits of “vaccinated” versus “vaccinated or previously infected”.

  5. If this kid’s mom is getting parenting advice from Slate, missing out on summer camp this year will be the least of her problems.

    1. That is a good point. I wrote to slate inquiring how I could be less “boring” online. They told me to be friendlier and people will be more willing to hear my opinions.

      It’s a good thing if depraved far right bigots like you find me boring.

      1. asshole flag

        1. So you want to plant a flag in my asshole?

          You’ve really gone off the deep end rummy.

          Better talk to your loser sponsor about your increasing senility.

          1. Asshole flag

            1. Senile rummy flag

  6. First of all, if someone is getting parental advice from Slate, then they have more serious problems than can be dealt with in an advice column.

    Secondly, she should lock her daughter in the basement, just to be sure she doesn’t have to face any risk in her future. I assume this mother will not be letting her daughter play any sports, drive, or be near any sharp objects.

    My grandson (age 12) if heading off to camp next week. No vaccination and no masks required. Although his Mom is sending him sufficient clothes for a week, he probably will wear the same t-shirt and shorts the entire time (horrors!), and based on my experience with his Dad, he will come back dirty, sunburned, and tired, but very happy with the experience.

  7. Mom Won’t Let Her Vaccinated 15-Year-Old Go to Summer Camp, and Slate Agrees

    It ain’t only Slate that agrees.

  8. there is no reason for a 15 year old to be vaccinated. None. At all.

    1. There are some legitimate reasons for kids to get vaccinated, because they already have medical problems, such as cystic fibrosis, HIV, and muscular dystrophy.

      Kids with some cancers should also get vaccinated to reduce risk of serious respiratory illness.

      But sure, the kids who are lucky enough to have good health should skip it.

  9. …”vaccinated teenagers are at no statistical risk whatsoever.” I have no idea what Robby means by “statistical risk”, as opposed to “risk”, but whatever he means, it ain’t zero.

    1. You can’t pull a signal out of the noise to verify covid as the cause of death for any group.

    2. Because there’s no such thing as zero risk. There’s always some level of risk in any activity. That’s what these covid panic zombies don’t understand. COVID is out there, so the risk will never be zero, but in most cases, it will be low enough that it may as well be zero.

      1. Yeah, there is some risk, but the risk to any individual (especially young, healthy ones) is much, much smaller than hundreds of risks we take every day without thinking about it.

  10. I agree. This family should not go anywhere. Stay home. Inactive. Die young from heart disease.

    1. And NEVER vote!! And do not have any more kids.

    2. The pandemic has given the progs the perfect case for virtue signaling. First, by wearing masks, and now that highly effective vaccines are available for pretty much anyone who wants one, they want to continue to cocoon themselves and their families because they are never happier than when everyone else is as miserable as they are. So of this lady’s daughter can’t go to summer camp, maybe she’ll find some other ways to entertain herself, like having unprotected sex and getting high. Of course it will always be Trump’s fault that we have COVID in the first place.

  11. a couple of people tried to make a quip about the quality of a parent who looks to Slate for advice on parenting. It is an aside – the article is about the press more than the parent.

    But still….

    It does direct the mind…. Why on earth does this article exist? What sort of parent is actually worried about summer camp for her teen and says “I know! I shall pen a letter to Slate!”

    That kind of beggars belief. A parent actually sent such a question to Slate? Really? Not to their doctor. Not to local health officials. Not to federal health officials. Not to local hospitals, covid hotlines, or even her local school system.

    Nope… gonna ask … Slate?

    1. Because it’s not about getting a good, reasonable amswer to her question. It’s about having Slate and all its readers in the comment section validate her and tell her she is good and righteous and brave.

      Her kid’s pediatrician probably already told her it was fine to send her.

      1. When I have questions about my kids’ health, I call my mom. She raised 5 children to adulthood, so she kind of knows what she’s doing.

        1. Guessing, from the pre-conceptions and tone, that this possibly-imaginary parent has already consumed more than one “When Is It Time to Break With Toxic Family?” article and no longer views “the wisdom of generations” as a resource.

          Much to their relief.

      2. The pediatrician probably told her at their last weekly appointment.

  12. A more important angle left on the cutting room floor…

    “misinformation” about Covid will get you banned from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

    So why is Slate still up on social media? Why does Google still recommend them in search results?

    This article directly contradicts the CDC. This is something that YouTube has characterized as a hard strike – earning you a temporary ban, a takedown and the threat of a permanent ban.

    It is supposedly automatic.

    Yet Slate is still not only safe from such bans… they are still quoted as a “reliable news source” that can be used to justify removing you from social media, should you contradict them.

  13. t has claimed the lives of more than 600,000 Americans.

    Citation needed.

    1. More than 600,000 Americans both died and had a positive PCR test for SARS-CoV2. I wish people would be just a little more precise about this. The virus is not the disease and the test doesn’t tell you if someone either had the disease or an active viral infection.

      1. The first 200000 died from presumed Covid, or with Covid but other causes.

        Remember there was no testing at all in the beginning.

        1. There’s a possibility that Covid over-diagnosis was 50% of initial 300,000 due to coding/billing incentives, as well.

  14. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been very clear on this: Director Rochelle Walensky has said that individuals who are fully vaccinated do not need to engage in social distancing or mask-wearing because they are safe from COVID-19.

    If the CDC said it, you might be wise to consider the exact opposite might just be true.

  15. Thanks Robby for the post , canada day is coming , i added complete details on Canada Day 2021

  16. Just keep her home. From what I’ve read here, she’s going to hate you forever regardless.

  17. “I am not anti-vax, I just don’t trust vaccines or know how they work” – morons who ask slate for advice

  18. One, no one should be soliciting advice from Slate or much less any rag.

    Two, I find it funny that reason, the freedom loving bastion, has such issue with this. Who cares? Go or don’t- it’s not gonna be a huge deal regardless and they have the freedom to decide if they want to or not.

  19. I am making 7 to 6 dollar par hour at home on laptop ,, This is make happy But now i am Working 4 hour Dailly and make 40 dollar Easily S\d .. This is enough for me to happy my ?? i am making this so u can do it Easily…Visit Here

  20. I am making 7 to 6 dollar par hour at home on laptop ,, This is make happy But now i am Working 4 hour Dailly and make 40 dollar Easily SRT .. This is enough for me to happy my ?? i am making this so u can do it Easily…Visit Here

  21. Speak for yourself my state government didn’t discourage all social interaction. All the state did was shut down big events like sports. The city closed down indoor dining for two months allowing carry out and delivery and had a mask mandate that no one enforced. Red state life!

  22. “The fear is understandable:”

    No Robby, the fear is not.

  23. she is a wise mom. thin about their kids

  24. the full video clip of this scn is available on Syncler media

  25. Another Karen losing her mind over unvaxxed and/or unmasked kids.

    If you don’t want Skippy and Muffy mixing with the great unwashed masses, sounds like you need to be sending them to a more elite camp. Perhaps there is a Camp Faucci where vaccinations plus two masks are required.

  26. So I’m wondering if this mom will be/has been homeschooling her daughter because she doesn’t trust the public schools to protect her from Covid -if she reads Slate, I’m guessing probably not

  27. Different energies are important in running a household, raising a family, and in government too. Too often one point of view dominates the other to the detriment of all. It is not surprising to me that the mom is freaking out, though she shouldn’t. And are you surprised that some schmarmy advice columnist gives crazy advice? When I want crazy advice I go to the comments section of Reason. Same thing happened to me, but my kids are going to camp, and sports! Where is the Dad in this story? Why is he going along with this? I am not for fighting over everything, and dying on every hill, but some times, for truly important things, you need to dig in. The mother is filled with anxiety and is overreacting to the detriment of her kids, but that is why it is best to have multiple people involved in raising children. And have a partner to talk her down from her crazy ledge.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.