COVID-19

Families, businesses optimistic with vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds near

Amanda Peacher Sep 20, 2021
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A boy receives his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this month. On Monday, Pfizer announced that a smaller dose of its vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11. Rodrigo Buendia/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Families, businesses optimistic with vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds near

Amanda Peacher Sep 20, 2021
Heard on:
A boy receives his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this month. On Monday, Pfizer announced that a smaller dose of its vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11. Rodrigo Buendia/AFP via Getty Images
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Families with kids ages 5 to 11 have reason to be hopeful after Pfizer announced the results of its vaccine trials on Monday. The company said that a smaller dose of the vaccine is safe and effective for children in that age bracket.

Shots could be getting into the arms of those younger kids by Halloween if all goes well with the Food and Drug Administration emergency approval process — and that could also give the economic recovery a boost, too.

When Tina Sherman in North Carolina heard about Pfizer’s latest vaccine trial results, she was excited for her 6-year-old son.

“I completely choked up and wanted to cry,” she said.

Her son is the only one of her four children who is unvaccinated. They have big plans for after he gets the shot.

“Yeah, we are going to go to the Cheesecake Factory and have lunch. And, gosh, we have a slew of birthdays coming up, so we’re going to get to do maybe indoor parties — what a concept!”

All that economic activity could be good for businesses that cater to the under-12 crowd, like the Backyard Indoor Playground in Golden Valley, Minnesota.

“Kids come, they have an absolute blast. You go through all these tunnels, and there are slides built within it, there are party rooms,” said Rick Birno, parks and recreation director for the city of Golden Valley, which runs the indoor playground that shut down at the start of the pandemic.

“We, of course, have had no revenue from that facility for 2021,” he said. But now he’s cautiously hopeful that the playground can reopen soon.

In the small town of Tehachapi, California, Lauren Ghazikhanian said her 6-year-old Aria is begging to get back to ballet classes.

“She absolutely loves dance, and she takes it so seriously, it’s adorable,” Ghazikhanian said.

But even once Aria is vaccinated, there’s also Ghazikanian’s 3-year-old son. She’ll still be cautious, “’cause you still have a child who has a chance of getting sick.”

That looming chance that your kid might get sick has been at play for parents making job decisions for months.

“Moms being able to step back into the labor force knowing for certainty that their kids will be able to attend school in person every day with minimal disruption,” said Alicia Modestino, an associate professor of public policy, urban affairs and economics at Northeastern University.

Moms have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, she said, so expanding vaccine eligibility to their 5- to 11-year-old kids could make the difference in getting back to work.

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