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Parents react to vaccine authorization for kids ages 5-11

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Now that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized Pfizer's vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, parents around the country are gearing up to get their kids vaccinated.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Melissa Sonaco (ph) lives in Southern California with her husband, her 2-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son, Harrison (ph), who's excited about the idea of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

MELISSA SONACO: He knows, you know, he hasn't been able to see his family as much and his friends or really kind of go out places that we used to go to. And so he's like - this is before it was even announced - he's like, I can't wait to get it so I can see everyone again and do things again.

KELLY: Harrison just started in-person school, and that has been a source of stress for mom, Melissa.

SONACO: I feel a lot more secure sending him to school, especially with my daughter at home. I worry that, you know, she doesn't have that protection, but if he does, at least it'll sort of alleviate some of the anxiety.

CORNISH: Now, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, parents' feelings about vaccinating kids in this age group vary widely. They break down roughly into thirds - 27% of parents are eager to, a third have more of a wait-and-see approach, and 3 in 10 parents say they're a definite, no.

KELLY: Matt van Chenkov (ph) lives in Kentucky with his wife and three kids, newly eligible to receive the vaccine. Ultimately, he and his wife have decided they will vaccinate their children, but personally, he does have reservations.

MATT VAN CHENKOV: Emergency authorization scares me. I told my wife that I would be a lot more comfortable if it went into the full authorization where it passed both CDC and FDA approval. But I also have a good friend who is a chemistry professor at Kansas State University, and she's going to have her 9- and 6-year-old vaccinated at the earliest possible date. So I really trust her. I know what she does from a research perspective, and I put a lot of faith in her expertise.

SARAH MORRISON: Now, do you want to go bowling...

CHLOE: Yes.

MORRISON: ...Or to the movies...

CHLOE: Movie.

MORRISON: ...Or what about doing kindergarten without a mask?

CHLOE: Kindergarten without a mask.

CORNISH: That's 5-year-old Chloe (ph) and her mom, Sarah Morrison (ph), from Asheville, N.C. Sarah plans to get Chloe the vaccine so they can get back to doing the fun stuff they used to do as a family pre-pandemic, and Chloe is on board.

MORRISON: Chloe, do you want to talk about why it's important to get the coronavirus shot?

CHLOE: So you don't get sick.

MORRISON: Chloe, what would you tell other little kids who have to get the coronavirus shot?

CHLOE: That it's OK if you cry.

MORRISON: Yeah.

CHLOE: It will feel like a little pinch.

MORRISON: Yeah. Do you think you'll cry when you get it?

CHLOE: Yes.

MORRISON: Yeah. But what else will you be?

CHLOE: Brave.

MORRISON: Yeah. Are you brave?

CHLOE: Yes.

KELLY: Yes, she is. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.