OREGON -- Discussion surrounding the vaccination of young children continues after FDA advisers voted Tuesday to recommend the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
Parents are sharing their thoughts about the impact of their children soon becoming eligible.
Autumn Lovell -- parent of a 6, 13 and 23 year old -- said when the conversation began about the possibility for younger children to receive the vaccine, she wasn’t hesitant.
“I felt like school shouldn’t have started until they had those vaccines ready,” Lovell said. “Now I feel like schools are going to be able to be safe. My family's going to be able to be safe. It's a big deal.”
She said two family members have autoimmune issues.
“This is the opportunity possibly for my kids to actually attend regular classroom programs,” Lovell said. “One of them for the first time in his life because he should have been a kindergartner the first year of COVID.”
Lovell is excited because she said once her youngest is vaccinated, that's a chance for him to get back to some normalcy.
“At 4, he was just starting to have those fun social interactions that kids need and everything shut down,” Lovell said. “So it's his chance to actually go on a family vacation or actually go to a classroom within a neighborhood school.”
Romelia Gutierrez-Becker’s 8-year-old could soon be eligible. She said the news couldn’t come fast enough.
“I'm really excited and really wanting to get him vaccinated as soon as possible,” Gutierrez-Becker said. “We’ll probably be the first in line to get him vaccinated.”
She, too, is looking forward to normalcy for her children. She shared that her 12-year-old son missed his sixth grade year on-campus due to COVID. Her son said he wants to get back to being with his friends and also wants to protect his father who has blood cancer.
“On his 12th birthday, that was his request to get his COVID vaccine,” Gutierrez-Becker said. “We went to Walgreens, and he got a shot. He is very adamant. We don't push. We don't really talk about it too much, but he has a very strong mindset where he's said ‘I believe in science and I want to get protected.’”
Many feel much differently when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination for young children.
“Leave the kids alone!” one Facebook user wrote. “Absolutely not,” another said.
Moving forward, the FDA will take the committee's vote under consideration. Then vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet next week to discuss the decision and decide whether to recommend that children get the vaccine. The final word will come from CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, and vaccination could begin next week if she gives the go-ahead.