While I’m not a healthcare professional, I am a mom–an often anxious mom at that. And I’m an Enneagram 5 (for those who don’t know, that’s the Investigator/Researcher type). My husband (incidentally, also an Enneagram 5–ha!) and I investigated and researched COVID-19, its developments, and the vaccine ad nauseum! We took many precautions early on in the pandemic to protect our at-risk family members and friends.
But more than that, we really took great care not to get our COVID and COVID vaccine information on social media. We relied on the opinions of doctors we trusted including our general practitioner, our pediatrician, and our church home group leader who is also a doctor. The consensus of each one (as well as CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics) was the same: get our kids vaccinated as soon as possible.
I worked tirelessly to locate and schedule online vaccination appointments for my non-techy parents in February 2021. Then my husband and I researched how and where we could get ours.
We could hardly wait to have our children vaccinated as soon as it was approved. The FDA
authorized a COVID vaccine for children ages 16-17 in December 2020. They then approved it for children ages 12-15 in May 2021.
The latest research shows that since August, 1 in 5 new COVID cases have been in kids.
Finally Their Turn!
A vaccine was finally approved in November 2021 for our children’s age range (ages 5-11). We immediately scheduled appointments for our kids at CVS Pharmacy inside of Target. Fun (and completely unexpected!) fact: CVS at Target gives credits at each COVID vaccination and for every 10 credits you earn a $5 gift certificate to spend in store. Our kids got free stuff just for getting vaccinated. Win-win!
It also gave us peace of mind knowing that COVID vaccines are safe and are given to those kids 5-11 in smaller doses that have been specially tailored for younger children.
The First Vaccine
Our oldest took the first vaccine like a champ . . . our youngest was understandably scared (as many five-year-olds aren’t fans of shots).
But once it was over, the tears quickly dried up. We waited the 15-minute wait time before running to the Target dollar section to pick out prizes.
Neither child had any reaction after getting a vaccine, and both went to school the next day. The only complaint I heard was when I hugged my oldest goodbye on her way out the door to school, she remarked I had touched her sore arm. But other than that, they were both champs and proudly showed off their vaccine bandaids to their friends at school.
The Second Vaccine
The second vaccine was even easier because both kids knew what to expect. Neither cried or tensed up, and they both knew they would get their $5 prize once it was over. They got some superhero stickers from the pharmacist and happily raced once again to the dollar spot.
Since my husband and I both felt so rotten after our second vaccine, I thought our kids might feel a little under the weather, too. But neither had any reaction whatsoever. COVID is a greater threat to children than any potential risk from side effects of the vaccine.
Again, both went to school the next day, and no one even complained of a sore arm this time around.
A Relief for the Holidays
To say getting our kids vaccinated is a relief is an understatement to say the least. We’d waited so long for this day to protect our families and those around us. A weight was lifted as we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with at-risk family members this year.
And while we know the vaccination won’t 100% protect us from getting COVID, COVID vaccines help prevent severe illness and death from COVID. I’ll take that statistic any day! However, children are four times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID if they live in a state with low vaccination rates compared to states with high vaccination rates. That list includes Alabama, unfortunately. By working together, we can change that and protect ourselves and our families against the worst of this virus. We CAN do this!
Questions and Answers
Birmingham Mom Collective was provided answers to these common questions by the Department of Health and Human Services. We know this will be helpful to you as you make the decision that is best for your family.
Can a COVID vaccine make my child sick with COVID?
None of the authorized and recommended COVID vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID. This means that a COVID vaccine cannot give your child COVID.
Will a COVID vaccine alter my child’s DNA?
No. COVID vaccines do not change or interact with your child’s DNA in any way. It is
Do COVID vaccines affect fertility?
No, they do not. If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, CDC recommends getting a COVID vaccine. Currently, no evidence indicates that any vaccines, including COVID vaccines, cause fertility problems, in women or men. If you are trying to become pregnant, then you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID vaccine. In a recent study, people who had gotten athe COVID vaccine had the same pregnancy success rate as people who had not been vaccinated. Vaccines are carefully studied and monitored, and it is clear they are safe for people who are pregnant or who want to become pregnant.
What side effects should I anticipate when my child is vaccinated?
Not all children will experience them, but short-term side effects from COVID vaccines are normal and typically last for a couple days after vaccination. 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. The risks from COVID far outweigh any potential risks from side effects of the vaccine.
Common side effects include:
- Pain, redness, or swelling where you got your shot
- Muscle pain