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Until Kids Can Get Vaccinated, Families With Vulnerable Children Stuck In Limbo

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - If all goes well, it will still be many months before COVID-19 vaccines are available for kids.

With nearly a quarter of Minnesota's population under the age of 18, some families are wondering what that means for getting back to a normal life.

For the Feist family of Waconia, the year turned to an all-out fight to protect Annika from COVID-19.

"It's that simple, we've just been at home," Christy Feist said.

Born with a rare neurological disorder called Fox G1 Syndrome, Annika is severely immunocompromised and suffers seizures.

"I don't want to prophesize about what would happen to her but I know it would not be good," Feist said.

It's a diagnosis that's also kept their older daughter close.

"We said nope sorry you have to stay home, nope sorry you have to stay home, nope sorry you have to stay home," Feist said.

Christy is vaccinated and her husband, Nik soon will be too. But, until kids can be vaccinated they realize there is still a long road ahead.

Doctor George Morris from CentraCare says at this rate, kids under 16 could start to get shots by early fall.

MORE: When Will Children Be Able To Get Vaccinated? Mayo Clinic Pediatrician Weighs In 

"What that means is we still need to keep our guards up social distancing and masking even while vaccinated families are gathering with the unvaccinated children," Dr. Morris said.

Dr. Morris still doesn't think large family gatherings are a good idea this summer.

"Plan to still have a safety plan for outside, small groups, six feet distance and use masks for our most vulnerable," he said.

But, he believes if 70% to 90% of adults are vaccinated, there will be more wiggle room for Minnesota kids.

"I expect school outbreaks, team outbreaks, sport outbreaks they will still happen but they're very small in numbers and we can treat them in a little pocket," Dr. Morris said.

Meaning large system-wide shutdowns will be a thing of the past.

RELATED: Next In Line For Vaccine Will Be Minnesotans With Certain Underlying Conditions, Food Processing Workers

It's why Dr. Morris hopes every adult will be vaccinated once it's their turn, a wish the Feist family shares.

"This is our turn as adults to protect the kids, a lot of times we do it the other way," Dr. Morris said.

Depending on vaccine rollouts for kids, Dr. Morris believes masking rules could be more limited next school year in activities and classrooms.

For example, kids on the sidelines would have to wear masks but those participating in the activity wouldn't have to.

He says doctors will rely on the science of the next six months and expect to learn a lot now that vaccinations in adults are underway.


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