“I was like, ‘oh my gosh, this is exciting,’” said Ms. Tule-Romain, 32, who felt an initial surge of hopefulness and relief. She has spent months living in limbo, declining birthday party invitations, holding off registering her son for orchestra in school and even canceling a recent trip to see her son’s grandparents in Atlanta.

A vaccine for her son, she said, could change all of that.

Ms. Tule-Romain will be among those eagerly waiting to learn whether federal officials authorize the vaccine for the younger age group, a step that is expected to come first on an emergency-use basis, perhaps as soon as Halloween.

However the F.D.A. rules, Michelle Goebel, 36, of Carlsbad, Calif., said she is nowhere near ready to vaccinate her children, who are 8, 6 and 3, against Covid-19.

Though Ms. Goebel said she had been vaccinated herself, she expressed worry about the risks for her children, in part because of the relatively small size of trials in children and the lack of long-term safety data so far. She said the potential risk from a new vaccine seemed to her to outweigh the benefit, because young children have been far less likely to become seriously sick from the virus than adults.

“We absolutely are not ready,” she said.

Only about 40 percent of children ages 12 to 15 have been fully vaccinated so far, compared with 66 percent of adults 18 and over, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Polling indicates that parental openness to the vaccine for their children decreases with the child’s age.

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