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Do We Plan to Vaccinate Our Young Kids? You Bet!



On Sunday (June 18), the CDC recommended that all children 6 months to five years old receive Covid-19 vaccines. That expanded eligibility to nearly 20 million more children. But a new poll in May from the Kaiser Family Foundation indicated that many parents are hesitant; only about 18 percent of Americans with children under five had plans to vaccinate their young children if vaccines became available. Karen Meyer, a Maryland mother of two children under five, has no such hesitation. In a frank interview with The Insider on Sunday, Meyer shared her family's thinking.




The Insider:

Hi Karen. Thanks for talking by text with The Insider!


Karen Meyer:

Of course!


The Insider:

I'd like to ask you few questions about yourself and your family. What city do you live in?


Karen Meyer:

I live in Ellicott City, Maryland with my husband Jeff and two daughters, who are 3 and 1. It is about an hour away from Washington D.C. and 30 minutes from Baltimore


The Insider:

Do you work?


Karen Meyer:

Yes. I am a physical therapist. I work part-time


The Insider:

And your husband?


Karen Meyer:

He is an engineer


The Insider:

And you both have science educations in your background, right?


Karen Meyer:

Yes


The Insider:

How old are you and your husband?


Karen Meyer:

I’m 31 and my husband is 30


The Insider:

Could you please describe you and your husband's vaccination history?


Karen Meyer:

We both got vaccinated as soon as it was available. My husband is immunocompromised so we wanted to get the most protection possible


The Insider:

Have you also been boosted?


Karen Meyer:

Yes we both got boosted. We both got Pfizer.


The Insider:

Have either of you had Covid?


Karen Meyer:

No, thank goodness


The Insider:

Have any of your extended family members had it, or your friends?


Karen Meyer:

My brother and sister-in-law just got it. My sister-in-law runs a day care. And my husband’s sister and brother-in-law had it as well as their boys


The Insider:

Were any of them seriously ill?


Karen Meyer:

Thankfully no.


The Insider:

Were the adults all vaccinated and boosted too?


Karen Meyer:

Yes. But my grandfather got Covid and passed away


The Insider:

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather! How long ago was that?


Karen Meyer:

December. He was 91 years old. He picked it up in a rehab center. Recovering from a hip fracture


The Insider:

I'm sorry. Because of your extended family’s experience, Covid must seem like a risk.


Karen Meyer:

Yes, we definitely were very cautious.


The Insider:

How would you describe very cautious? Any restaurants? Movies?


Karen Meyer:

Initially we ate in, wiped down all our groceries and avoided public events. Once vaccinated we went to a few restaurants. Tried to be outdoors when possible. Wore a mask in public areas


The Insider:

I'm very interested in how your young daughters were part of that equation. How would you describe your lifestyle with your kids as far as Covid has been concerned?


Karen Meyer:

My older daughter attended preschool this year and wore a mask inside even when optional, but not outside. I also did not bring them into stores with me when possible. Did a lot of Amazon orders, Target pick up and giant grocery delivery


The Insider:

How about the baby?


Karen Meyer:

We kept her away from crowds and out of stores when possible since she could not wear a mask.


The Insider:

When you and your husband were making those decisions was the subject of whether to vaccinate your kids if possible already part of the discussion?


Karen Meyer:

We knew we wanted to get both our children vaccinated as soon as it was available. We just didn’t have access to it for them yet. Actually, when the pandemic first started, I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. The effects on pregnant women were not know yet so I got it as soon as possible after I had her. Since I had her in December I was very far along in the pregnancy at that time.


The Insider:

That was a tricky decision, I bet.


Karen Meyer:

Yes. it was. Luckily, I was so close to delivery that I was able to get it soon afterwards


The Insider:

So you must have been delighted this week when the CDC announced that vaccines would be available for kids under 5.


Karen Meyer:

I was very excited! I plan to call Monday as soon as the pediatric center opens


The Insider:

I'm curious whether you or your husband had any side effects from your own vaccinations.


Karen Meyer:

Nothing too terrible. Just mild fatigue and a sore arm. Similar to a flu shot


The Insider:

Are you worried about your kids having side effects? Have you been doing a lot of reading?


Karen Meyer:

I feel the benefits outweigh the risks. I want my kids to be protected from Covid and to be able to clear it faster if they were to get infected


The Insider:

I bet you have friends with kids in the same age group. What are they doing?


Karen Meyer:

We do. So far, all the parents we have talked to plan to get their kids vaccinated and are excited that it was approved


The Insider:

Have you discussed Covid with your 3-year-old?


Karen Meyer:

We have


The Insider:

What have you told her? How much does she understand?


Karen Meyer:

We told her that we have to wear a mask so that we don’t get sick and she has been very good at following directions. Her preschool dolls even wore masks


The Insider:

So how will you explain the vaccination to her?


Karen Meyer:

She has gotten shots before so we will just tell her that it will help protect her from getting sick. She is very good with shots


The Insider:

Just one last question, if it doesn't seem too nosy; Covid precautions seem to vary with people's politics. It's very interesting that your friendship group is eager about these vaccines for younger kids. How would you briefly characterize your own politics and that of your friends?


Karen Meyer:

I’m Republican and so is my husband. As far as our friends go, I think it’s a mix but we don’t really talk a lot about politics


The Insider:

Would you mind if I ask you more about that? There's more Republican resistance to vaccines generally. I can certainly stop here, though, if that's too much!


Karen Meyer:

I don’t have too much to add there but I do not feel that the vaccine should be a political issue. It is backed by science and we love our children and that is good enough for me


The Insider:

Good place to end! Thanks, Karen! We really appreciate this.


Karen Meyer:

You’re welcome!

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