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Parents with kids under 5 are still stuck in vaccine limbo

vaccine limbo
Posted at 1:58 PM, Mar 09, 2022

HOPKINTON, Mass. — Life for Mallory Sakats is a constant balancing act, a delicate dance between taking care of her kids and taking care of her work.

With two kids under the age of 5, though, this mother, like so many others across the country, is still waiting for final FDA approval of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"It's just very confusing sometimes. I was just talking to my pediatrician about it last week," she said.

Mallory and her husband, Tyler, have two kids, who as you can probably guess by now, keeping them pretty busy.

Both parents are vaccinated, but their kids still aren’t eligible for the shot, which has only added to the uncertainty of the last few years.

"This has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster over the last six months," said Buddy Creech, who serves as the director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Vaccine Research Program.

As a parent himself, he understands the frustration so many are feeling.

"That tug and pull, it’s just hard right now for a lot of parents to determine which side is up," he added.

Earlier this year, it seemed like the FDA was ready to approve a COVID vaccine for kids under 5. But then, the FDA said it needed to wait until data on a third dose becomes available before moving forward.

About 1.9 million children younger than 5 have contracted COVID in the last two years. Most are spared the worst of the illness. However, that doesn’t mean kids wouldn’t benefit from the vaccine.

"What we’ve realized is children aren’t little adults, they don’t need as much vaccine to make a good immune response," he noted.

Seeing the data available already, Creech believes kids under the age of 5 will be able to get at least one shot by the start of the summer.