As covid restrictions lift ‘life is returning to normal except for parents of kids under 5’

Missing from most of the dialogue around mask mandates expiring in even the bluest states is the fact that children under five still can’t be vaccinated. While coronavirus statistically causes milder illness in children, it’s impossible to predict how it will affect an individual child. Nearly 1,000 children under 18 in the US have died of covid, countless more have been hospitalized and we do not yet know how long covid affects children. Studies shows that children who get covid are at greater risk for Type 1 diabetes and we know long covid comes with the risk of blood clots, strokes, neurological issues and more.

The Washington Post has a new article featuring profiles of parents of children under five. This comes after the announcement of the FDA delaying the vaccine for this age group. The earliest time frame for EUA of the Pfizer vaccine for children under five is now mid April. Many parents are juggling careers outside the home with the expense and risk of daycare and frequent school closings. I can’t imagine the pressure they’re under. Here’s some of that story and I’m only quoting one parent. There’s much more at the source.

Parents of children younger than 5 say they feel forgotten and left behind, watching others reclaim normalcy while they stay home with kids who are too young to be vaccinated and have to quarantine when there is an exposure to the coronavirus at day care or school.

“The rest of the world has moved on, and they are not able to do so safely,” said Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Parents are now dealing with another twist in a two-year roller-coaster ride after a coronavirus vaccine for the youngest children was further delayed this month. The Food and Drug Administration said it would wait to make a decision on authorizing the vaccine until data on a third dose becomes available — opening up a host of new questions and concerns.

Benjamin Huffman Pleasant Hill, CA: Two years into the pandemic, Huffman said he feels worse than he did at the start, living in “absolute chaos” trying to protect his 1- and 3-year-old sons from the virus.

“I never know if I’m going to be at home on a given day, at work on a given day, taking a child to the hospital on a given day, dealing with a school closure on a given day,” he said. “And then sometimes I find out halfway through the day that it’s going to be different than I thought it would be.”

Huffman, 37, a therapist for Contra Costa County, said that while his children’s day care is taking covid-19 more seriously — which he commends — elsewhere it seems to be the opposite. Local restrictions are being lifted, and Huffman said he has to return to the office, giving him less flexibility than with remote work.

“Basically, life is returning to normal for everyone except for parents of kids under 5,” he said.

[From The Washington Post]

As someone who works from home and has just one teenager, this was eye opening to me. My heart goes out to parents who are seeing people act like things are back to normal while their children are still vulnerable and unable to be vaccinated. I’m also so sorry that the vaccines have been delayed. I can’t imagine how frustrating that must be.

Photos credit: Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels

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