ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Some Big Country parents are rejoicing as Pfizer announced Monday that they are one huge step closer to a COVID vaccine for kids age 5-11. Many are saying that having their child vaccinated would give them a peace of mind they haven’t had in quite some time.

“I’m excited. I’m happy that my kids will finally have some sort of protection against it. I understand that they’re at a lower risk, but with the different variants and everything out there, I would rather my children be safe and protected any way I can,” says Abilene mother Patricia Ward, who has a 13 year old, 10, year old, and 5 year old.

“We get the message every so often that another teacher, another student’s got COVID. Well there’s one way to combat that, and it’s called a vaccine. Hopefully more kids get it, my kids will definitely be getting it,” said Abilene father Sean Rasley, who has one 9 year old and one 8 year old child.

Abilene Director of Public Health Annette Lerma says she has been watching this development closely, and that the public health district is working to bolster staff numbers in preparation for the vaccine rollout should Pfizer secure FDA approval.

“We absolutely still trust the process,” Lerma says. “All of the things vaccines normally go through before they’re approved, so if they do come forward with approval saying that the data indicates that it is safe and effective for children, and the Department of State Health Services blesses that activity, then we will certainly be prepared to administer that locally.”

Lerma further stated that the district has seen a rise in COVID positives among children who are not yet eligible for vaccination since school has resumed.

“Of course most of them are just fine and they’re recovering well, it’s more about who’s at home. Who are they going to expose,” says Lerma.

“Not everybody can get the vaccine because there’s some people that have compromised immune systems and whatnot. So the more people that can get it, should get it. So that way it stops the spread of disease. That’s just science 101, you know?” Rasley Said.

The parents that we spoke with said that they had already received vaccinations and had been eagerly awaiting approval for those 12 and under, sharing that their confidence in the process comes from a combination of research and personal experience.

“I want people to do their research, like actual scientific research, not just what they’re seeing on Facebook and Tik Tok. I want them to do their research and realize the science is backing it and it’s not new science,” says Ward.

Rasley says that being retired military, he has had more vaccines than most and he trusts that after going through the rigorous testing process, the vaccine will be safe for his kids.

“I mean, as soon as they’re born you get them a whole host of vaccines anyway, I don’t understand why this is any different. I don’t understand why there’s any argument,” says Rasley.