A young person’s perspective on the COVID vaccine is worth listening to

By Dennis Archambault

The COVID pandemic has put a strain on everyone, in different ways. One group – parents with children – struggled to balance work, education, and family life as the pandemic surged and waned, with each week seemingly bring a different set of constants.

Today, Nancy Kaffer, a Detroit Free Press columnist, wrote a piece that revealed her frustrations as a parent – particularly how she feels children were not respected as much as they should have been in securing a safe and effective vaccine. Kaffer notes that  her. son is one of only 182 Detroit children to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as of Nov. 9. That’s .2% of the 5-11 population, by her math.

Speaking as a parent, Kaffer says, “I understand — parenting is hard, and terrifying, and the stakes are very high….But this vaccine is safe. It’s been studied and tested. I had no more hesitation about allowing my child to receive this vaccine than the vaccination for whopping cough or chicken pox or the measles.”

Her article also charming and revealing as quotes from her 11 year-old son get to the heart of the matter, from a kid’s perspective. Unfortunately, the article is limited to survivors and couldn’t be shared. But here are the thoughts of Kaffer’s son. Hopefully, they’ll be shared with other young people so we get this population immunized so they can have a safe holiday season.

“It only hurts when you get the needle in. Putting the vaccine in does not hurt at all, or taking the needle out, it doesn’t hurt that much at all. You have to wait 15 minutes, and then you can go to Krispy Kreme and get a free vaccination doughnut.”

“Some people at my school, they have to be asked a few times to pull their mask up over their nose. That could be bad… I remember one day, I was in science, and my science teacher, he got like 10,000 calls from the front office saying, ‘This person has to quarantine,’ until there were only like 10 people left in the class.”

“If you’re a kid, if you hate masks, if you get the first shot and the second shot, you don’t have to wear masks everywhere… If you hate masks, you’ll love getting this!” 

Authority Health will sponsor a “COVID-19 Vaccine and Flu Fair” on Thursday, Nov. 18, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Hope Family Health Center, 12121 Broadstreet, Detroit. The Pfizer youth vaccine, approved for children age 5+, will be offered. For information, contact Dr. Carolyn Custer at ccuster-gme@authorityhealth.org.

Dennis Archambault is vice president of Public Affairs at Authority Health.