“When the pandemic is over…” This is a phrase that my children will say to me weekly – maybe in the car, during dinner or even before bedtime. Before it was more of a question but now it feels like a more concrete and sad statement in their vocabulary. And to be honest, it breaks my heart to think of how much of their precious childhood they have missed because of COVID-19.
It’s the little things, the magical moments and memories, that I wish they could look back at and remember. One example are birthday parties. All three of my children celebrated big birthdays during COVID. But we were unable to plan a big party at the venue of their choice, where we could spend the afternoon making it special just for that child like we had done in the past. There are no pictures they can look at, memories of blowing out the candles surrounded by their friends or thoughts of what invitations they had picked out to invite all their friends. Birthday parties are a special part of their childhood that they missed out on because of COVID.
This year was the second holiday season in a row where we were unable to get together with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. There were no afternoons spent opening gifts from each other and laughing together, as we had in past years. Instead, we spent the evenings on FaceTime showing off our treats from Santa and virtually opening our gifts together from the computer screen. Once again, my children as missing pivotal memories that both my husband and I remember from when we were younger because of COVID. I just want them to have these special moments too.
But when I found out that I was finally eligible for my vaccine, I promptly registered for my
appointment. And soon as all three of my kids were eligible, we signed up for the very first day of appointments. I remember sitting in the waiting room after they received their vaccines, and I was emotional. COVID took away a lot of precious memories and experiences that they would have otherwise been able to experience. But now I could have the peace of mind that I’m protecting my child and our community.
Here we are entering a new year and now we have been provided with more tools and resources to help fight this pandemic, including a COVID vaccine and booster. Families have questions about making the decision that is right for them, which is why Indianapolis Moms is honored to partner the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to share facts about the COVID vaccines.
Facts on COVID and Vaccines
COVID vaccines help prevent severe illness and death from COVID. If you are not vaccinated—no matter your age—you are at risk of getting sick, and yes, even dying.
Safety is a top priority. COVID vaccines are the most closely monitored vaccines in U.S. history and are being monitored just as closely in children.
COVID vaccines provide an opportunity to return to a more normal lifestyle. Getting vaccinated is the best way to control the pandemic and make it safer for everyone.
Everyone in the United States Ages 5 or Older is Eligible to Get Vaccinated
CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend all children 5 and older get a COVID vaccine as soon as possible. More than 8 million Americans under 18 have gotten COVID. Since August, hospitalization rates for children with COVID have reached record highs. COVID vaccines are given to children ages 5-11 in a smaller dose that has been specially tailored for younger children. Adolescents ages 12 and older receive the same dosage of a COVID vaccine as adults.
Short-Term Side Effects from the Vaccine are Normal
Children who’ve gotten a COVID vaccine have the same temporary side effects as adults. Some of the common side effects include fever, headache and pain where the shot was received. But good news – these are signs that the vaccine is working and that your child’s body is building protection against the virus.
Getting Vaccinated Has Never Been Easier or More Convenient
Vaccines for kids are now available at more than 30,000 trusted and convenient locations. Vaccines are also free regardless of health insurance or immigration status. Be sure to check with your child’s pediatrician or their school for vaccine availability too!
Talk to a Doctor
Make an appointment and talk to your child’s health care provider about any questions you may have about the COVID vaccines. Everyone’s story is different and navigating what is best for your family comes with a lot of questions. And do your own research at cdc.gov/coronavirus to get more information.
By getting my family vaccinated, I was grateful to finally be able to start creating new memories for my children. My daughter was able to celebrate her birthday with her grandparents and we had a belated holiday celebration with their favorite aunt and uncle. While we can’t completely get rid of the question, “When the pandemic be over?” I do know that with the opportunity to get my children vaccinated, we are one stop closer to shutting the door on that phrase.
For more information or to find the vaccination site closest to you, visit vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX), or call 1-800-232-0233.