Dr. Matthew Day is a critical care physician at Lexington Medical Center who has treated COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic. This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Dr. Day’s young children Parker and Emery received the shot on the very first day it became available at Lexington Medical Center’s vaccination clinic located inside Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia. Dr. Day told us about his decision to vaccinate his young children.
Our son Parker is 9 and our daughter Emery is 6. My wife Lindsey and I told them the COVID-19 vaccine is extremely effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19. We explained it was their opportunity to restore new normalcy to their lives. While they weren’t too excited about getting a shot, they said they would rather have the vaccine than risk getting sick with COVID-19.
It was important for my kids to get the vaccine because they’re currently the most vulnerable. Because of my work in the hospital, I’m around COVID-19 patients all the time with close contact. My children are also around unvaccinated children at school. I want them to be as protected as possible. The vaccine is an opportunity for my kids to help decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19 to teachers or individuals that might be at high risk of getting extremely sick. Ultimately, the benefits of getting the vaccine far outweigh potential risks.
The vaccine process was easy at Lexington Medical Center’s vaccine clinic in West Columbia. And there were minimal side effects. The kids complained of some pain at the injection site for the first few hours, but that subsided and we were all good.
Ask your pediatrician if the vaccine is right for your child. This vaccine should be viewed as no different than other vaccines such as MMR or Tdap that are required for school admission. We’re all in this together. Let’s do our part to help protect our children, ourselves and others by getting vaccinated.
Matthew J. Day, DO, Lexington Critical Care