My youngest daughter turned twelve on the same day the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination became approved for use in kids ages 5-11. This means she and my nine-year-old son can finally get vaccinated. The news came like a wave of relief after many months of pandemic-induced worry.
It’s not accurate to say we’ve been living in fear, but we’ve been cautious. Wearing our masks when cases began climbing again, trying to enjoy large group gatherings outside, and attempting to listen to sound scientific advice in the middle of all the noise that is being made around the topic.
To our knowledge, nobody in our immediate family has had COVID-19.
My husband, oldest daughter, and I have been vaccinated for a while, and are thankful for the layer of protection these shots have provided. My four-year-old son will have to wait another year to be eligible for vaccination.
Preparing for the Vaccine
Just because I’m historically pro-vaccine, I still had a few questions that needed to be answered before signing my kids up for their first dose of the COVID-19 shot. As we all know, there are lots of very strong opinions on the topic of Covid mitigation and, as a parent, it can be hard to know how to sort out the information and make an informed decision.
For us, sharing our vaccination concerns with our children’s doctors helped us feel prepared for the shots. Our regular pediatrician, our son’s oncologist, and a family friend who practices emergency medicine took time out of their busy schedules to listen to our questions and concerns while providing answers and assurance. Moreover, all three of these doctors have kids who are now eligible for vaccination. They encouraged us further by saying they would be scheduling the COVID-19 vaccine for their own children.
Scheduling the Vaccine
Securing an appointment for my twelve-year-old was easy. We were able to find an afterschool spot at a pharmacy near our home. There were a lot of people at the pharmacy when we showed up, but we were in and out quickly.
My son’s appointment, on the other hand, was a little harder to find. It took a few searches to find a pharmacy that had the 5-11 dose. When I did find a pharmacy, most of the appointments were during the school day. Thankfully, I had an afternoon off work for a personal appointment and I was able to squeeze in his shot on that day. I did have to pull him from school early to make it on time.
The pharmacy waiting area was very busy, mostly full of young children waiting for their vaccination. In general, there was a feeling of relief and excitement among the parents waiting with me. Clearly, for many of us, COVID-19 vaccines for our children have been eagerly anticipated.
Vaccine Side Effects
My twelve-year-old daughter felt great after her vaccine. The next day, however, we received a call from school that she had a fever and needed to be picked up. In the time that we drove home, her fever went down significantly. After a dose of Tylenol, she took a long nap and woke up her normal, spunky self. She was hungry and ready to FaceTime with her best friends.
My nine-year-old son complained of a sore arm for a few hours the day after his shot. That is the only side effect he reported.
It is my hope that vaccinating our children against COVID-19 is the last step toward fully returning to a full pandemic-free life.