After many months of waiting, the COVID-19 vaccine has finally been approved for children ages 5-11. COVID-19 is still is taking from our community. I pray it will someday leave us so we can return to our normal lives, but unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon.
There is hope though, we can now move onto the next phase of vaccination and push toward herd immunity. We no longer have to be quite so afraid for our little ones. We may even be able to send them back to school without the constant worry of an outbreak.
I have heard people say, “very few children get really sick or die of COVID.” This is true of many illnesses, and it’s easy to ignore the risk until your child gets seriously sick. My son, Sawyer, was diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as an infant. Very few children get seriously ill from this virus, but unfortunately, that was not the case for him. I spent 35 days in the hospital with him, three of which he was on a ventilator and nearly died. I chose to vaccinate my children so they are protected. I never want to see one of my children on a ventilator again.
When the vaccine was made available, I was the first in line. I even attempted to enroll them in the pediatric trials, but they were full. If you have concerns, please ask questions. I have heard a lot of false information from my own patients. I want everyone to make an informed decision based on correct information and research. I would never recommend a vaccine for my patients that I would not have given to my own children.
Stay safe, and please enjoy the holidays.
Dr. Laura DuChene is the Chief of Medical Staff at Tri-County Health Care in Wadena.