RICHMOND, Va. -- Grabbing a mask while heading out the door used to be a routine amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with vaccinations on the rise and COVID-19 restrictions lifted, many have ditched the mask.
This trend is leaving one local mother concerned.
"We are still living like it is this time last year," said Katie Dover.
The Ashland mother watches the world move on from a pandemic that's slowly losing its power.
"Everywhere you go, people are still not socially distancing," Dover said. "They are not wearing masks."
While vaccinations are squashing the health threat of COVID-19 for many, her own children remain vulnerable to the virus.
"There's an entire group in our population that has been kind of thrown to the wind," Dover said.
Two of Dover's three children remain unprotected from Coronavirus since they don't meet the age requirement for a vaccine. As of now, only kids who are 12 and up are eligible for the vaccine, a troubling reality for Dover.
All of her children struggle with respiratory issues and her 8-year-old daughter Delaney only has one lung.
"She can't be around people a whole lot so you either have to wear a mask or you can't get close to her," Dover said about Delaney.
Health issues like this are why the sight of crowded settings and maskless people make her family uneasy.
"My kids see it as, 'does that person not care about me?'"
Virginia's vaccine leader Dr. Danny Avula predicts there will be an approved vaccine for the pediatric population by October or so. Both Moderna and Pfizer are currently testing vaccines on young children.
According to Dr. Avula, Moderna has been engaged in trials for kids down to 5-years-old since spring. That data should come together by the end of summer.
Meanwhile, Avula said Pfizer just moved into phases two and three of its trial for kids down to 2-years-old. That data should also be finalized this summer.
"Maybe September and then there will likely be probably another month of review by the FDA," Avula said.
The COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 12 will be different than the vaccine administered to teens and adults.
"Instead of the 30 microgram dose that adults and now 12-15-year-olds have gotten, they're having to test a smaller dose," Avula explained.
He mentioned when approval arrives, parents can get their children vaccinated at a pediatric office, pharmacy or school.
Until then, the Dover family will take no chances.
"They miss their friends and they miss hugging people," said Katie Dover. "I really hate it for them, but they also know we're protecting them and this is what we need to do right now and they will be able to do those things again."