With school going back in session soon, how can you protect your child from getting COVID-19?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the best thing you can do is to get vaccinated yourself.
For me, the choice was easy. My wife, my two teenage sons and I have been fully vaccinated, and that has helped erase our fears of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 — including the delta variant. AdventHealth has reported a frightening surge of hospitalizations, and I don't want my family to become one of their statistics.
But I also have three children who are under 12, and while I am unlikely to infect them, they are at risk around other people who are unvaccinated. The CDC recommends that if your child is 2 or older, the child should wear a mask in public. “To set an example, you also might choose to wear a mask,” the CDC says.
I hope we can all respect each other’s choices and not assume we know people’s motivations for wearing or not wearing masks in public.
Masks will likely not be required in Florida schools; Gov. Ron DeSantis opposes any mandate.
I know many people who have declined to be vaccinated for various reasons, and I have come to accept that our community’s vaccination numbers will be somewhat of a patchwork, and, therefore, we will be living with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. That means we will need to remain vigilant; our personal choices are the determining factor in how well our community weathers this storm.
If your friends aren't vaccinated, find a way to be social outdoors. Be kind and honest with them.
Are the vaccines safe?
The Centers for Disease Control are definitive on this question: Yes, COVID-19 vaccines are safe. A handful of adverse effects have been documented, but they are extremely rare and are still being studied to determine whether there is truly any connection to the vaccines themselves.
According to the CDC, of the 339 million doses of vaccines administered between Dec. 14, 2020, and July 19, 2021, there were as many as 6,207 deaths (or 0.0018% of total vaccine doses) that might have been related to the vaccine, although that is still unclear.
Meanwhile, 18,000 people died of COVID-19 in the United States in just one of those months — May 2021 — and 99% were unvaccinated, according to an Associated Press analysis.
In other words, you have a much greater chance of dying from COVID-19, if you’re unvaccinated, than you do of dying from a vaccine.
Join the club. All the cool kids are getting vaccinated.