Parents share mixed reactions over plans for boosters for children after CDC authorization

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The CDC independent advisory committee authorized booster doses on Thursday for children ages 5-11, which comes as COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations are slowly increasing across the country.

"We have the tools we need to protect these people from severe disease and to prevent any more tragic deaths," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Despite that, parents who spoke to ABC11 on Friday shared varied plans on how they planned to move forward.

"The metrics are starting to tick back up. We're leaving the park early, we want to maintain some social distancing as much as possible," said Joe Shepard, who added that his family also washes their hands frequently.

Still, Shepard, who was with his 5-year-old son Josiah, said they are holding off on getting a booster dose.

"I'm hoping that there's a one-size-fits-all in the very near future, where no matter the variant, no matter the strain, this is going to inoculate most of that," said Shepard.

Elsewhere in the park, Nora O'Keefe-Carlin noted that both she and her husband are vaccinated and boosted, but none of their three children, including two who are in the 5-11-year-old range, are vaccinated.

"Show me the research, show me the numbers that are sound. I'm very much about vaccines -- they've had all theirs, this is just the one where I'm like, I don't have enough research to convince me," said O'Keefe-Carlin, who added that she wanted to see more long-term studies.

In Durham, Jessica Hope Murrell Berryman, whose father died of COVID-19, said they are planning for her daughter to get her shot. Berryman is part of the Moms Rising NC Steering Committee, which advocates for mothers' rights.

"She's been talking about it because her big sister has had one. But of course, what I really would like to see is we don't have to continue to boost and boost and boost. But I also understand the importance of getting boosted, and how that could really benefit her," said Berryman.

In North Carolina, 77% of adults have received at least one dose, though just 38% of children can say the same.

"At this point, it seems like the best thing to do to protect our children from getting the virus," said pediatrician Dr. Mona Amin about vaccinations.

North Carolina has seen five straight weeks of rising cases, and a 21% increase in hospitalizations week-over-week. Wake County is one of two counties in the state now listed as medium risk.
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