HOUSTON — Twice last year, Margaret Schulte and her husband, Jason Abercrombie, traveled 11 hours round-trip to Louisiana from their home in Tulsa, Okla., in the hopes of vaccinating their children, who were 2 and 4, against the coronavirus.
The only way they could get shots for their children — among the more than 19 million Americans under 5 years old who are not yet eligible for vaccinations — was to take part in a clinical trial. So they signed up, hoping a successful vaccine would mean that by now, or at least sometime very soon, a semblance of prepandemic life would be on the horizon.
It has not worked out that way.
The Pfizer trial that their children participated in did not produce promising results, the company said last month. Nor have vaccines emerged from other corners. Moderna has yet to release results of its pediatric trials.
Now Ms. Schulte and Mr. Abercrombie are among the millions of parents stuck in an excruciating limbo during a surge of Omicron cases, forced to wrestle with day care closures and child care crises as the rest of the world appears eager to move on.
according to research from the University of California, Berkeley.
under 20 percent — among the youngest eligible group, children who are 5 to 11 years old.
Young children are at much less risk of becoming severely ill after a coronavirus infection when compared with adults, doctors have said. While hospitalizations have gone up for children, the overall numbers remain very low.
In Austin, Texas, Kyle and Tasha Countryman count themselves among the lucky: They both have jobs that are busier than ever — in construction and furniture sales — and the day care where they send their children, who are 1 and 2, has closed certain classes only a couple of times during the pandemic.
They were very cautious while Ms. Countryman, 36, was pregnant. “None of us wanted to get sick before I delivered,” she said. Now, she said, her goal is to give the children as normal a life as possible. That means seeing family, friends and cousins and going out to places where masks are not required.
“We do that so our kids can see other kids’ faces,” Ms. Countryman said. “I don’t want to go to some of these indoor places if it’s going to be very, ‘Stand here and everybody wear masks.’ Those are not the places that we’re actively seeking out to spend our time. We’re going to more restaurants, breweries, activities that we can do outside.”