I am a mom of three kids ages five and under. I work with children. I live in California. And it is hard to articulate how I feel about COVID vaccines for my kids. And it is really hard to articulate how I feel about vaccine mandates.
If you are somewhere in the middle of this fierce debate, I can relate. This is not a black and white issue for me and I’m swimming around in that gray area in between, trying to figure out what is best for my kids and my family.
Mandates for kids are already happening
Before the CDC approved the COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11, the governor of my state declared that all students will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID to attend in person schools. From kindergarten through high school. The projection is that this will not take effect by the state until summer.
But that is not stopping school districts from placing restrictions on those who are not vaccinated or starting vaccine enforcement sooner.
Confusion running rampant
I have talked to many people about this in my daily meetings, people on both sides and people so confused that they don’t know where to begin.
An 11-year-old who was anxiously awaiting their 12th birthday (before this changed) so they could get the vaccine, who refused to hug her unvaccinated grandfather because they didn’t know if they could be asymptomatic and kill them. To others who are fleeing the state before their kids start kindergarten next year, leaving friends and family and lifelong homes because of the threat of vaccine mandates.
All I see is no end to this
This is hard. It is a hard time to be a person and it is a harder time to be a parent. The past two-ish years have been really rough. And there are so many other things going on besides COVID-19 in our world and our county.
I feel like sometimes these rules and mandates coming from the government are coming out to keep the pandemic alive and to keep them in a place of power. The end date keeps getting pushed back further and further. Like there is no end to this race.
The test of time
The chicken pox vaccine, a disease once common to kids, was invented in 1988 in Japan and Korea. In the US it was FDA approved in 1995. In 2001 it became mandatory for school attendance in California. The earliest was in 1997 and the most recent in 2015. That’s a longer spread than COVID-19 has existed.
To my knowledge, this is the most recent required vaccine for school attendance. I had the shot given to my kids willingly, along with the other “usual” vaccines. I even called the doctor once asking about getting the MMR vaccine early for my 10 month old. Because these vaccines have been given the test of time and hundreds of thousands of applications in kids.
I don’t know the right answer
Honestly, I am struggling with what to do. I don’t like that my kids will have to get another shot to go to school. But it appears that, in California, they’re going to have to get the vaccine or be homeschooled.
There is nothing wrong with homeschool; I’ve thought about it before. But my kids love their school, their friends and teachers.
In the end, I don’t know the right answer, and as a parent trying to do the right thing for my kids, for my family, for our extended family, that is terrifying. If you’re in the same boat, know you’re not alone.