The Mom Stop column: Vaccine offers best hope for ending COVID-19 pandemic
Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
Every night, as my three kids say their bedtime prayers, they pray that the pandemic comes to an end. They also pray that everyone stays well, including the dogs. They pray for those who are sick, and for the families of those who have died.
And early on in the spread of COVID-19, they prayed for the creation of a vaccine. Once we told them that one had been developed, they started asking questions about when we all could get it.
Our two oldest children were ecstatic, hopeful that life as they knew it before March 2020 could resume. It was in my youngest child’s bedroom one night after reading a book together that we told them about the vaccine. Our 11-year-old daughter jumped up and down. My 9-year-old son did an “air pump” motion with his arm. And our youngest daughter, age 5, started to quibble.
“Does that mean I have to get a shot, too?” she asked nervously. She started to cry. She hates any kind of shot.
Her fears have since calmed now that she knows that the COVID-19 vaccination hasn’t been approved for children yet. But they still pray every night for the spread of the vaccine, and for the pandemic to end.
How we all wish that will come true.
Two vaccines have been approved for emergency use in the U.S., and as of Feb. 1, 31 million doses have been administered in this country, reaching about 7.6 % of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 1.3 million shots are being administered in the U.S. a day.
And while the vaccines offer a glimmer of hope, there’s still vaccine shortages, appointments in other states being cancelled or vaccination clinics having to be canceled because there aren’t enough shots. There’s still significant populations of people who are wary about receiving the shot, and the threat of mutated strains that have come to the U.S. now makes me wonder if life will truly ever be “normal” again.
One can hope.
My kids’ prayers were at least answered in a small way, when, last month, three of their grandparents received their first doses of the vaccine, which was a huge relief for all of us.
Then their uncle, who is a dentist, received the vaccine, too. And then we all celebrated when my 89-year-old grandmother, my last remaining grandparent, finally received her vaccine last week at her assisted living facility. Several of the facility’s staff have been stricken with COVID recently, as well as some of the residents, and a handful of the residents have died from the virus. And so, hearing that my grandmother got her first dose brought a lot of relief.
Still, I don’t think I’ll stop stressing until I know she’s fully vaccinated.
My mother, who is 66, will get her first shot next week, now that the Alabama Department of Public Health recently opened up vaccinations to those age 65 and older. And I hope for the day that my husband and I will be able to get ours, too.
I understand that many people are worried about the vaccine. I have friends who don’t trust how quickly it was developed, or who want to wait to see how others react before getting one themselves. But as so many in the medical community are now fully vaccinated, and as the vaccine availability spreads to the rest of the public, I can only hope that more people will choose to get it as well.
It seems the vaccine is our best shot for ending the pandemic, and to me, it seems like a shot we ought to take.
Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at email@example.com.