Parents Anxious to Vaccinate Young Children Describe an Agonizing Wait

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“She’s only been to church twice since March 2020, both times masked. I worry constantly that we have become too lax, but we are the only ones still masking our unvaccinated child in public indoor spaces. I have resorted to paying my children $1 every time they wear a mask in public indoor places.” — Kristen Green Wiewora, Searcy, Ark.

“Leave the kids alone. Perfect the vaccine (which usually takes 10 years!!) and then get the kids involved. I think the earliest a child should get this vaccine is in their late teens.” — Patricia Verma, Reno, Nev.

“We barely go anywhere. When my 2.5-year-old had his first friend over to play, he kept touching her to see if she was real. It’s soul-crushing, scary, sad, not at all what I expected from parenting when I got pregnant in 2019.” — Lauren Klinger, St. Petersburg, Fla.

“Imagine Groundhog Day, but full off worry, stress, loneliness, heartbreak. She doesn’t know all she’s missing out on, and I’m thankful for that. But I do, and that’s what makes me sad. — Angela Smith, Colorado Springs

“It’s exhausting and heartbreaking. Every day, I choke back tears when getting her ready for day care. We haven’t left our home state, seen the inside of an airport, or been in a room with more than 12 people since February of 2020.” — Katie Nelb, McKinney, Texas

“I’m not sold on efficacy and potential side effects.” — Adrian Bryant, Willowbrook, Ill.


Many wrote of how the pandemic had exposed societal divisions, a lack of trust in government and public health, and a lack of empathy for others. One New York City mother wrote that she and her toddler often wait 20 minutes to use their apartment building’s elevator by themselves, rather than risk riding with an unmasked passenger.

A parent in Denver wrote, “We are a nation of selfish children, except for the children themselves.”

Katie Nelb, an information technology worker and mother of a 3-year-old in McKinney, Texas, wrote: “I have friends and acquaintances who have gotten on planes, gone to events and wandered through grocery stores either knowingly having Covid or while having symptoms but not wanting to test. And because I know so many people are doing those things while my child has no protection, my family is forced to still live in lockdown after two and a half years.”

Alli Chan is a pediatric intensive care nurse in St. Louis. Her husband is an emergency medicine doctor. Their youngest is nearly 3; their 6-year-old has immune deficiencies.



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