In what seems like a never-ending fight against COVID-19, the vaccine has been a beacon of hope for many people. Of course, this hope also came with skepticism, particularly concerning efficacy against variants and side effects. In the end, many adults pushed aside their worries and got vaccinated.
However, these adults were more cautious when it came to vaccinating their children, especially those under the age of 12.
When the vaccine was approved for children, many parents jumped at the chance to get their kids vaccinated. An Issaquah School District vaccine clinic on Nov. 2 had all appointments booked within 25 minutes.
Wanda Chung, 44, reflected the excitement of many parents when the vaccine became available for her 10-year-old son, Henry.
“I was really happy…it made me really excited for Henry to be able to start to live a little bit more of a normal life,” Chung said.
But not all parents were this eager. Some expressed an element of fear and worry when making the decision of whether or not to vaccinate their child.
Srinivasa Buchaighari, 49, said he had no doubts about vaccinating himself, but when it came to his kids, ages 10 and 15, he was more concerned particularly about the vaccine’s side effects after hearing his friend’s daughter had a severe reaction.
“People say it’s [side effects] rare, but when it comes to you, it’s not anymore,” Buchaighari said.
Buchaighari did eventually decide to vaccinate his children.
“It did not look like a choice…I believe in the science, so I just have to blindly follow what they [CDC] says,” he said.
Elija Patel, 44, a mother of two children ages 8 and 10, had similar reservations. She also ended up taking her kids to get shots.
“I don’t like the risk of the vaccine,” Patel said, especially of unknown, long term side effects. “I’m not against vaccines, I’m against everything else that they put in it that I don’t know about.”
Chung was slightly concerned about the long term effects on children as well, but said “in the grand scheme of things,” the vaccine was a necessity.
None of the parents that spoke with the Sammamish Independent made major changes to holiday plans after immunizing their children.
For Buchaighari, a family trip to India had been planned well in advance. He did not feel vaccinating his kids was a necessity for travel.
He mentioned that this was due to an overall “decrease in the [COVID] trend,” particularly in India. Essentially, after looking at the numbers, he felt like they could continue their plans regardless of his kids’ vaccination status.
Patel said she does feel a bit more comfortable “going out normally and traveling” now that both her children are vaccinated. However, she is still concerned about the efficacy of the vaccine.
“The vaccine is not a 100% guarantee they won’t get sick…it reduces the symptoms,” she said.
For the Chung family, caution remains top of mind since they also have an infant who is not yet eligible for vaccination.
“We are less worried now that he’s [Henry] vaccinated, but we still will continue to remain cautious since we have an infant in the house,” Chung said.
For Chung, any trip out of state would mean her infant would need to quarantine for 10 days afterwards at home instead of going to daycare.
“With us being two full time working parents, we just can’t do that [travel],” she said.
As we near two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are itching for things to return to normal. However, these parents are not getting ahead of themselves, and are exercising skepticism by taking precautions for their families’ safety.