Team Vaccine, IDK, or Nah?
It's back to school time, and mandatory vaccinations are on the table. For some parents, covid vaccines are like the stale leftovers that your young children refuse to eat. We add new spices, warm them up in the microwave, and tell them how they will keep their bodies strong, but they remain reluctant to take a bite.
Similes aside, the decision to give your child the covid vaccine is difficult.
When I wrote a draft of this piece, I looked over at my three children under twelve play Roblox. They began the day with five essential tasks: brushing their teeth, feeding the pets, feeding themselves, taking a Spanish lesson, and writing a one-page report that includes five things they are grateful for in life. Their morning chores are the prerequisites before turning on the computer.
Like you, I am eager for my children to return to school.
They need more face-to-face and less screen time with their friends. While we fill the summer with sports camps, household chores, and family outings, we appreciate the structured learning that attending school provides. It's also great to get a break from 24-7 parenting duties.
Like education systems around the world, Caribbean nations are considering the best approaches to keep schools safe for students, teachers, and administrators. Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago have delayed the start of the 2021 school year. In Antigua and Barbuda, schools plan to resume one week after the initial proposed start date.
Here’s my stance on the vaccination of children against covid. My wife and I are vaccinated because we wanted to take every precaution in protecting our three little ones. But despite our decision, we need more time to consider taking our kids to the nearest clinic for an injection - I know this is not the firm position you were expecting me to take.
Thankfully, my children are under the age of twelve and not eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. We have a little bit more time. Some reports predict multiple vaccination options available for children as young as six months within a six-month timeframe.
My wife and I never joined the anti vac community, but we've shared some hesitancy around each injection to the arms and legs of our three little ones.
We followed an alternative vaccination schedule with each of our children. They eventually received all of the recommended vaccines, but on a timeline that we researched and felt best suited their growing bodies.
Administering the covid vaccine to children has some potential risks. The common side effects include redness and swelling at the injection site, muscle pain, and headaches. In the US, they’ve also witnessed rare cases of heart inflammation.
The potential benefits of vaccinating children are plenty. From the clinical trial tests, covid Pfizer vaccines have demonstrated lowered chances of lethal complications associated with the coronavirus. While children who take the vaccine can continue to transmit the virus, they are less likely to die from the related symptoms. Achieving herd immunity through mandatory vaccinations in schools supports a safer return to in-person teaching and learning for all teachers, students, staff, and administrators.
A school with 80% or more vaccinated students can reduce the chances of an increased outbreak in countries around the world.
Like you, I want my kids to get off Roblox and get on their academic studies as soon as possible.
Despite the vaccine's benefits, I do not support mandating all children to receive an injection before returning to school. Parents should have the right to free choice in health-related decisions regarding their children under eighteen. There are justifiable reasons for failing to comply with vaccine protocols.
Parents with religious or other strong concerns that prohibit vaccines should receive an exemption. Schools should provide these students with comparable virtual or socially distanced in-person accommodations until we have a long-term plan.
Yes, long-term. I believe Ms. Corona is staying with us for a little longer; an overnight eviction is impossible.
In writing this blog entry, I read multiple articles for and against covid vaccines. Some came from medical doctors, academics, health experts, and parents with non-related medicine backgrounds. Others appeared in my browser from the perspectives of caring citizens, conspiracy theorists, and thought leaders from various fields.
Many of the articles I read led to one conclusion. They make arguments for mandatory vaccines. These authors belong to Team Vaccine. Other writers explain the pros and cons of the vaccines; they belong to Team I don't Know, (IDK). Lastly, there is the group of everyone who chooses to take the vaccine dies, AKA Team No, (Nah?!)
We really don't know what to do in this unprecedented time.
As a parent of a young child, what will you do? Will your child get the vaccine in these last few days of summer? Are you on Team Vaccine, Team IDK, or Team Nah?!
For other fatherhood perspectives of health and education, pick up one of my books.