“No, Mom! Not again! I’m so tired of virtual learning! When is the Coronavirus going to end?!” cried my 8-year-old when I received a positive COVID-19 test result two weeks after he finally returned to in-person classroom instruction.
Prior to my diagnosis, it had been a long year of learning from home. And while the family time was nice, my little one flourishes in the classroom with structure, teachers, and friends. He was ready for things to go back to normal, and so was I.
I tested positive for COVID in September 2020, far before the vaccination was available. Luckily my case was mild, and I didn’t pass it on to my family. But experiencing this illness firsthand had me convinced … once a vaccination became available, I wanted to consider it for my family … and I wanted information so I could make the best decision.
Columbia Mom wants the same for you as you consider your options. We want to provide you with information about COVID, vaccinations, and how they relate to children so you can make the best-informed decision for your family. That’s why we’ve partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to share facts about the COVID vaccines so that you can make the best choice for your family. And ultimately, it is YOUR CHOICE.
Facts About COVID and Vaccines From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services … Especially as It Relates to Children
Kids do test positive: Since August, 1 in 5 new COVID cases have been in kids. We’ve seen this in our community, firsthand, with several of my son’s classmates and friends … and I’m sure you have too.
Vaccines help: The COVID vaccines help reduce the spread of the virus. Even though it’s rare for kids to get severely ill from COVID, it can happen – and it’s even more likely they could spread the virus to other people who are at greater risk. Children are 4x more likely to be hospitalized from COVID if they live in a state with low vaccination rates compared to states with high vaccination rates.
Safety is a priority: Millions of people have safely received COVID vaccines under the most rigorous safety monitoring in U.S. history. COVID vaccines are the most closely monitored vaccines in U.S. history and are being monitored just as closely in children. COVID vaccines are given to children 5-11 in a smaller dose that has been specially tailored for younger children.
Booster shots matter: A booster shot is an extra dose that helps keep up protection against severe illness and is more important than ever.
Doctor supported: The American Medical Association reports over 96% of doctors have been fully vaccinated against COVID.
And there is news for parents! As of November 2021, children ages 5 and older are now eligible for the COVID vaccine.
What are the Side Effects of the Vaccine?
Children who’ve gotten a COVID vaccine have the same temporary side effects as adults. They are signs that the vaccine is working and that your child’s body is building protection against the virus.
Common side effects include:
- Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- Muscle pain
Short-term side effects from the vaccine are normal and typically last for a couple of days after vaccination, which sure beats several days out of school or, worse, hospitalization!
Where to Get a COVID Vaccine
Fortunately, COVID vaccines are readily available for both adults and kids. They are completely free, regardless of health insurance or immigration status. There are several ways to find vaccines near you:
- Visit vaccines.gov
- Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX)
- Call 1-800-232-0233
- Check with your child’s pediatrician or their school for vaccine availability. Many schools and health care providers are offering vaccines to make it easier for children to get vaccinated.
Looking for More Information?
Want more information about the benefits of getting vaccinated? Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider, just as you would with any other health-related concerns. You can also research for yourself cdc.gov/coronavirus for more information.
Ultimately, it’s your decision to make the choice that works best for your family, and we support your choice! Let’s work together to put an end to the pandemic. We CAN do this!