Disclaimer :: This content was paid for by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Fort Worth Moms and City Mom Collective partnered with HHS to provide fact-based information about the COVID-19 vaccine so area parents can make informed decisions for their families.
If I’ve been asked once, I’ve been asked 100 times: What has your family decided . . . about in-person school . . . social distancing . . . after-school activities . . . mask wearing . . . vacations . . . about this variant and that variant? Many of our friends and family looked to us a time or two for ideas and guidance. Why? It’s not because we are really cool, lol, but it is because my mister is a local infectious disease doctor. He is a living, breathing expert on COVID-19 and has treated hundreds and hundreds of hospitalized COVID patients during the last two years. He has seen the absolute worst of what COVID can do, and he knows the most about how to keep our family safe and healthy.
But, alas, I take his knowledge for granted. How fortunate was I to live with an actual infectious disease expert during all of this? I forget not everyone is as lucky as me to get copies of the Journal of Infectious Diseases delivered to the house on the regular. His knowledge and first-hand experience has eased my fears and concerns as the pandemic evolves. I have felt very informed and confident in our decision making as we’ve gone along . . . because I had the facts.
I will not go into great detail about the decisions we’ve made previously, starting way back in March 2020, but I will relay two core principles that are important to us:
- Do our part to keep our family (especially our child with chronic asthma) and our community safe and thriving (in health, economically, in morale, etc.).
- Find ways to incorporate as much “normal” into our lives for the sake of our mental health. In-person school for our children is a big part of that for us.
The Main Component
If you’re wondering what a local infectious disease doctor thought was best for his family, then, here you go: Yes, mask wearing and the wonderful protocols our school enacted (shout out to the amazing administrators and teachers) helped keep our kids in school and living as much as a normal life as safely allowed. However, the main component to reaching this goal is vaccination against COVID-19.
In 2021, he and I received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and each got our booster. Our daughters also received both doses before the end of November.
It was an easy decision for me to decide to vaccinate my children, then ages six and 10. But I absolutely totally understand parents who have questions and worries and concerns. Hello, we have not lived through a pandemic before. This is a brand new era of parenting! Questions are normal!
So, let’s look at the questions I’ve fielded from friends and family — and see how the facts can inform our answers.
Let me go no further before I say a big THANK YOU to our partner — the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — for its help in providing up-to-date information. Its We Can Do This campaign is a national initiative to provide public health messaging so that the public, that’s you, can make informed decisions.
In December 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a COVID vaccine for children ages 16 – 17. In May 2021, the FDA authorized it for children ages 12 – 15, followed by an authorization for children ages 5 – 11 in November 2021.
Almost eight million Americans under the age of 18 have tested positive for COVID. Since August 1, one in five new COVID cases has been in kids.
Hospitalization rates for children with COVID have reached record highs. Although it’s rare for kids to get severely ill from COVID, it can happen. It actually is more likely for them to spread the virus to other people who are at a greater risk.
COVID is a greater threat to your child than any potential risk from side effects of the vaccine. There is zero way to know/predict exactly how COVID will affect your child, but clinical trails showed vaccines to be highly effective at protecting them from severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID. Millions of people have safely received COVID vaccines under the most rigorous safety monitoring in the U.S. history.
Everyone in the U.S. ages five or older is now eligible to get vaccinated. Children ages five an older can get the same safe, effective protection from COVID-19 that hundreds of millions of American adults have received. The doses given to children under the ages 5 – 11 are smaller doses, specially tailored for younger children. Adolescents ages 12 years and older receive the same dosage of the COVID vaccine as the adults.
In clinical trials, children had the same kinds of temporary immune responses from the COVID-19 vaccine that adults had, such as pain at the injection site, tiredness, or headache.
None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID. The means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot give your child COVID. Also, COVID vaccines do not change or interact with your child’s DNA in any way.
Here is where our family has landed: All four of us are fully vaccinated because we want to give our bodies their best chances to fight COVID should we become infected. We also do not want to spread the virus to others . . . or have to miss school days and work days because of an infection. If one of us goes down with COVID, that means our area hospitals are short one very good infectious disease doctor until quarantine is over.
If you choose to make the same choice for your kiddos, getting vaccinated has never been easier or more convenient. Everyone in the United States ages five or older is eligible. Vaccines are free regardless of health insurance or immigration status.
Talk with your pediatrician and/or research for yourself at cdc.gov/coronavirus for more information and to get your specific questions answered.
To find a vaccination site closest to you:
- Visit vaccines.gov
- Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX)
- Call 1-800-232-0233