This post was developed in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University and NORC at the University of Chicago as part of a Pfizer-funded research study. All thoughts and opinions are always my own.
In our little family of four, we do almost everything together – including getting vaccinated. We weighed our risks of the options we had during the COVID-19 pandemic and made the best choice for ourselves. Protecting our health is the highest priority. My husband works in an office and my son goes to public school. These are the two main reasons we chose to protect our family against COVID19 with the vaccine as soon as we could.
Throughout the pandemic, we do our best to learn about the virus and the vaccines. What we know now is that vaccines are proven to be 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 hospitalization and death. We spent most of 2020 at home. Seriously, my boys and I stayed home for 9 full months. However, my husband continued to go to work in an office every day. He signed up for the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it was available. His office took important precautions including closing the doors to clients but they were still going into the office Monday through Friday. Even if he was vaccinated, I knew he could potentially bring it home. As soon as it was available to me, I signed up to receive the vaccine.
In Summer 2021, we chose to enroll my oldest son in public school. While that might seem counterintuitive for a homeschool family during the COVID-19 pandemic, for various reasons, we knew this was the right choice for him. By this time, the vaccine was also available to him. We discussed the risks and asked him what he wanted to do. It was his choice to make. He chose the vaccine. I was relieved, honestly. The schooling switch was a big deal in our home but it was comforting to know my son was protecting himself with the vaccine and by wearing masks.
My youngest son was still not eligible so we took great precautions to keep him safe. 66% of COVID-related deaths of those ages 0-17 are among children of color or minority communities with Hispanic children making up 33.6%. Yes, I was concerned but at the time we had done all we could. Those of us who could get vaccinated did. We did it for us and for my son who was not eligible yet. Plus, all COVID-19 vaccines are free.
When my son was finally eligible, I took him to his doctor for a check up just to make sure all was well. He’s my “baby” and I was taking extra precautions. With a clear physical and knowing that the Pfizer vaccine has been proven safe and effective in children ages 5 and older, my son chose to receive his vaccine, too. Like the rest of us, he had some pain in his arm and was a little more tired. None of us have any other major side effects after receiving the vaccine. Finally, we are a fully vaccinated family.
We are not just trying to protect our family. Protecting our community is important to us, too. COVID-19 is impacting Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color the most. Compared to White Americans, Hispanic Americans are 2 times as likely to be infected; Black Americans are 1.4 times likely to die; and Indigenous people are 3 times more likely to be hospitalized. (Learn more here: https://covidtracking.com/race) We can do better to protect our communities of color by getting vaccinated ourselves and encouraging our loved ones to do the same.
Every family has their own reasons and their own stories. Each time one of us chose to receive the vaccine, we talked as a family about the risks of our options in this pandemic. Together, we chose to make our family’s health a priority and to get the vaccine.