- Pfizer announced in mid-December that the vaccine rollout for kids was going to be delayed.
- Parents of kids five and under are feeling deflated, after living for almost two years in a pandemic.
- Many of the children waiting for the vaccine can’t wear masks, putting them at higher risk.
Just when we seemed close to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, news about the Omicron variant hit, forcing many to regroup, even canceling their highly-anticipated holiday plans.
Perhaps hardest hit were the parents of unvaccinated little ones, whose lack of protection from the virus has dramatically limited their day-to-day socialization. For them, Pfizer’s latest announcement that trials of the drug did not provide an effective immune response in two to five-year-old kids was a major setback.
We asked parents whose littles still can’t get vaccinated how they’re dealing with the news, and overwhelmingly the responses were of exhaustion and frustration.
Exhausted, overwhelmed, and defeated
Katie from Doylestown, Pennsylvania was completely deflated when she heard Pfizer’s news, and worries what this winter will bring with Omicron. The mom of three — ages 11, 9, and 4 — and her husband are fully vaccinated and boosted along with their two oldest children. “We’ve been slowly creeping back towards engaging in life, but with our youngest still six months away [from being vaccinated] I am incredibly torn. Yes, if he were to get COVID-19, chances are it will be very mild. But that was also the case for my older two, and I didn’t decide to stop protecting them because I was tired. On the other hand, how much longer can we possibly hold off living life? It feels like an impossible choice,” she said.
For Jenna, a Warren, New Jersey mother to a two-year-old son and five-year-old daughter, the news is disheartening and stressful. “I was hoping to get my son vaccinated by the spring. It’s two years into the pandemic, and this life of masks, social isolation, and distance is all he has known. Until my son is vaccinated, we will continue to be cautious and careful with who we interact with,” she said.
Bree from Mystic, Connecticut said she’s too exhausted to be surprised by the Pfizer announcement. “I was hoping to take my three-year-old daughter overseas for a month this summer and had already booked a house in the United Kingdom. But I was expecting her to be vaccinated by then,” she said. Now she’s reevaluating her travel plans.
Drained, angry, and losing hope
Chicago, Illinois resident Lizzie is feeling deflated, angry and hopeless. Though her oldest, who is seven, is fully vaccinated and in school, her three-year-old doesn’t really get to go anywhere. “She can wear a mask, of course, but I just feel like if it’s not necessary to bring her, why risk it? She does doctor’s visits when needed, but that’s about it,” she said. Lizzie was planning to start her youngest in pre-K this January but isn’t sure what to do now.
Anna from Maplewood, New Jersey is feeling drained and angry. “I have both an infant and a toddler. The hope that they’d be vaccinated by the spring has been keeping me going. I trust science, and I understand why we have to wait, but it doesn’t take the sting away,” she said.
Kimberly from Huntington, New York feels spent. Her five-year-old is vaccinated, but her two-year-old isn’t eligible and is extremely mask resistant, scared of people, and behind in social skills. “I just want to give her some sense of the normal childhood exposures she deserves and needs to develop properly. We had just started taking her places when Omicron hit. It just feels like we’re screwing up a whole generation of kids,” she said.