When so much in the world is uncertain, parents do everything they can to protect their kids from the unknown, and the COVID-19 Pandemic has certainly been unknown. Now, children over 6 months old are encouraged to get vaccinated. This is the best way to ensure that kids are safe from the virus and can lead their normal lives.
But, deciding what’s best for your children can be hard, especially when there is conflicting information out there. Eric Valladares, the Executive Director of Family Connections, a family service and child care center in San Mateo County, is here to tell us why he chose to vaccinate his little ones.
Eric was not always so sure he was going to vaccinate his kids for COVID-19. “When the vaccine became available for adults, I signed up right away, signed up my parents right away, and my wife right away. But when it came to my kids, I wanted to know how their bodies would respond.”
“I had some concerns, some slight reservations. I think that’s part of being a parent.”
“I wanted to research,” Eric says. “And then I wanted to research my research.” Clear information coming from local sources, like San Mateo County Health, were an important part of Eric’s decision. “Seeing different data points from my community, like the vaccination rate, made me feel informed. San Mateo County had a lot of virtual meetings, where they brought medical providers to speak to what they’ve seen, and everyone could ask their questions.”
“I hear a lot that people who want you to get vaccinated have an agenda but I want to remind folks that the people who tell you not to get vaccinated have an agenda too,” Eric cautions. “I invite people who are concerned to approach it with curiosity, and just know that it’s okay to change your mind when you learn something new.” He hopes that people learn that the vaccine is the most scientifically tested, proven way to keep children and adults safe from COVID-19.
“I just trust the experts who have been involved, because from a young age my parents taught me that medical providers were there to keep us safe And I think that’s a huge impact that you have on your child. That’s what I’ve been talking to my kid about. When he asks questions like, ‘why are we going to the doctor? Why am I getting a shot?’ I tell him truthful answers and I think that’s a beautiful conversation to have. Because 0 -5 is the time–it’s the time to start to normalize checkups and vaccines and medical care and how they’re part of taking care of your neighbors too.”
“If we want to keep making strides toward a healthier safer community, more like what we had before the pandemic, vaccines are the roadmap to that. The vaccination rate at my child’s school is very high and it’s a huge benefit to the community as a whole. The level of vaccination gives a buffer, if you will, so that disruption is minimal when a classmate tests positive. This happened just last week at my child’s school and because vaccinations are required, nobody else tested positive. I take great comfort in that.”