The Atlantic Daily: Vaccinated Parents Aren’t Home Free

As American adults line up for shots, children are becoming disproportionately represented among the unvaccinated.

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As of this week, people ages 16 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in all U.S. states. But as adults and older teens reclaim a bit of normalcy, children could be left out.

That means parents are entering a weird limbo. “In their strange world, a dinner party with their adult friends is fine, but a birthday party for their 5-year-old could still spread the virus,” my colleague Sarah Zhang points out.

Further reading: How can schools help children catch up after this year’s learning loss? Summer programs can help, but they aren’t enough, our staff writer Adam Harris reports.


What to read if you’re still processing the conviction of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd:

There will be more Derek Chauvins, because his conviction alters nothing” about the system of American policing, our staff writer Adam Serwer warns.

George Floyd was also a father, Clint Smith reminds us: “For many of us, when we see the Floyds, we see our family.”


One question, answered:

My menstrual cycle got weird after I got my COVID-19 vaccine. Was it because of my shot?

Very possibly, yes, our staff writer Katherine J. Wu reports. She explains:

In recent weeks, a growing number of people have shared anecdotes about their periods getting a little wonky in the days after their COVID-19 shots. Unfortunately, this pattern wasn’t noticed or addressed during clinical trials, so there’s not clear-cut data to establish what might be going on.

Still, for now, it’s no cause for alarm: Menstruation is a fickle beast, and stressful events, including, perhaps, vaccination, can easily set hormones off kilter. (I’ll point out here that a slight blip in a menstrual cycle should not be misinterpreted as evidence that vaccines negatively impact fertility. They don’t.)

Last week, I talked to Kate Clancy, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Katharine Lee, a public-health researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, who are leading a charge to collect data on this trend, and hopefully come up with clearer answers. Some people appear to be experiencing heavier flows after their shots; others have breakthrough bleeding, or surprising postmenopausal menstruation. The causes could really run the gamut. Clancy told me she’s been frustrated to see a lot of people dismissing these early reports as inconsequential or even unscientific; the real crux of the matter, she said, is that people haven’t taken periods, and reproductive health in general, very seriously before. Vaccines could be our next shot, if you will, at flipping that narrative on its head.


Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Start a new (blissfully short) TV show. Chewing Gum, on Netflix, is “a raucously funny, frequently cringeworthy, sharply written coming-of-age story.”

Find more half-hour-long TV options on our list from last year.


A break from the news:

A new poetry collection, Hoarders, has what the A&E reality show of the same name lacks: “a nuanced understanding of how consumerism might shape compulsions.”


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.