By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A COVID-19 vaccine for younger children could be just weeks away. Pfizer says tests show that a lower dose of its vaccine works and is safe for kids ages 5 to 11.

That’s welcome news for many families, as the virus has infected nearly a half-million children in the past two weeks. However, some Minnesota parents remain hesitant.

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Outside Edinborough Park in Edina, Ashley Kubes from New Prague was loading up her kids. She said she will be “first in line” to get her 5-year-old child Asher vaccinated.

“I want him to be protected as much as possible since one of our neighbors down the street they had and she was unvaccinated and died,” she said.

On the other side of the spectrum, Molly Durow said she’s not planning on getting her 8-year-old son Cruz vaccinated.

“I don’t know what that will be long-term, and how that will affect him long-term,” she said.

It’s a divide doctors see every day. Dr. Hannah Lichtsinn, a pediatrician and mother of a 5-and 7-year-old, says her family also can’t wait.

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“They are in kindergarten and second grade this year in our neighborhood school, and absolutely I will be signing them up the first chance I get,” she said.

Lichtsinn says, before they make up their mind, parents need to understand the Delta variant is making kids very sick.

“In Minnesota, throughout the state, we are seeing kids hospitalized with COVID, we are seeing kids hospitalized with post-COVID inflammatory condition (MIS-C), and we are seeing kids in the ICUs,” she said.

But parents of teens are clearly not all convinced. MDH data for 12- to 15-year-old youths shows only 47% are fully vaccinated. Vaccination is higher among older Minnesota teenagers. So far, 54% of 16- and 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated.

Manufacturers and researchers are also busy working on a COVID vaccine for children under 5. Those test results aren’t expected until the end of the year.

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Esme Murphy