Last Friday, Lakshmi Ganapathi’s son turned 5, and finally became eligible for his first Pfizer COVID shot. Ganapathi’s family had been anticipating that moment for more than a year, yet as of late, she can’t help but feel the slightest bit deflated. At first, the COVID vaccines’ trickle down the age brackets felt worth the wait because the shots were doing such a stellar job at blocking symptoms. The clinical trials kept delivering knockout results: 94 percent efficacy, 95 percent efficacy, 100 percent efficacy, 91 percent efficacy—a near-perfect performance in every tested group from adults to elementary-school-age kids. Then Omicron swept in, slipping around the vaccines’ shields.