We Need to Vaccinate Our Children and Protect them Against COVID-19

This opinion piece appeared in Michigan Chronicle. Read more here.

This summer has been the closest we’ve felt to normal since March 2020.

Traveling has been back at a high volume, restaurants and other eateries are operating at full capacity, churches are gathering in-person once again, and kids are able to participate in a wider variety of camps and extracurricular activities.

We may be done with the COVID-19, but the reality is COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

I know we all wish COVID-19 was a thing of the past and that we could all get back to our pre-pandemic lives. But for the health and safety of our families and community, we need to face the fact that we are just not there.

In fact, the experts are predicting yet another surge of COVID-19 in the fall when students return to their classrooms, resulting in more sick children and sick families.

That means not only do we as adults need to get vaccinated and/or boosted, but our children must get vaccinated as well. Getting the COVID-19 vaccination is critical as kids get ready to go back to school for in-person learning.

Failure to do so could result in a more severe impact for anyone who contracts the virus. I don’t even want to think about having to distance myself from my family again or missing more milestones in my grandchildren’s lives.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the new BA.5 subvariant of COVID-19 is more contagious than the previous variant, which was more contagious than the one before that. The BA.5 subvariant, which was first identified in the spring, now represents nearly 80% of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I also want to be clear that receiving a vaccination is not a guarantee that you will not become infected. Data shows that those who are vaccinated are much less likely to contract the disease. And if they do become infected, then their symptoms are much more likely to be less severe than those who are still unvaccinated.

One day this pandemic will be a distant memory. But today is not that day. And the more we try to pretend that it is, the longer this thing will be with us.

Our children look up to us as adults to make the right decisions and to do what’s best for them. They count on us to protect them from what we can.

We don’t always get it right, but this time there is simply no excuse. The facts and the data are right there in front of us as plain as day. Vaccines are safe, and they work to protect our kids from 14 diseases before age 2. It’s why, years ago, I made the decision to vaccinate my babies to protect them from diseases like measles, mumps and polio — diseases that are now rare because of vaccines. I encourage you to speak with your health care professional about what’s best for your family.

By now nearly all of us know at least one person, if not many, who has either died from COVID-19 or suffered terribly, before (hopefully) managing to recover. We know COVID-19 is real and we know what it can do. We need to act like it. We need to get these babies vaccinated and protect us all.

Evangelist Karen Clark Sheard is First Lady of Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ and a renowned gospel award-winning recording artist.

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About I Vaccinate

I Vaccinate provides information and tools based on real medical science and research to help Michigan parents protect their kids. Support is provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Franny Strong Foundation.

You’ve got questions. That’s a good thing.

As parents, determining how best to protect our children can be overwhelming and confusing. We’re here to help.

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