Like most parents, I’d do anything for my kids. But what I didn’t realize until recently was that my decision to be vaccinated against COVID-19 was one of the best things I could do for my kids, keeping myself healthy and enabling me to care for them when one of them got sick.
For me, the decision to get vaccinated was easy. I have a background and a strong family connection to public health. However, I also understand that there can be a lot of questions and hesitation around a vaccine for a disease that many of the public just learned about. And while understanding the science is important, it’s just as important, that we also consider how getting vaccinated (or not) can impact our loved ones.
I have two boys, aged 9 and 11—below the vaccination threshold. In mid-May, my 9 year-old was not feeling well. Despite having been cautious and enacting proper social distancing, it turns out he was exposed to and contracted COVID-19.
Because I knew that in our small community, people would need to be notified and wonder who was sick, I quickly took to social media to share the news. I wanted people to be aware that if they had been with my son, they too needed to be tested.
But I went beyond that. I shared on my Facebook page that I had been vaccinated; therefore I didn’t have to quarantine, and was able to take care of my son, and shared information about a mobile vaccination clinic coming to our area.
While his symptoms were not severe, I can’t imagine him being sick and not being able to care for him. I thought of other parents, who might not have taken this into consideration as they weigh the decision to vaccinate themselves and that’s why I’m sharing my story. Despite the great strides New York has made in getting residents vaccinated, the virus is still out there. It still is a risk to our kids. It will likely still be awhile until younger kids can be vaccinated. When that time comes, both of my kids have made the decision to get their shot, but until then, it’s critical that we as parents do all we can to protect them, while at the same time ensuring we are able to care for them if needed. I hope parents will take this into consideration as they think about the health and safety of their entire family.
Jaime Costello lives in Caroga Lake with her family.