As a parent, the late days of summer can be full of open houses, back-to-school shopping, and finally convincing your kids to do their summer reading. To say the least, we at Black Parent Magazine know you have a lot on your plate. And so do mothers and Center for Disease Control public health experts Symone Hairston and Fátima Coronado. Recently, the CDC officially greenlighted the use of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for those aged 6 months to 4 years old, making all people older than 6 months eligible for a vaccination against coronavirus. Black Parent Magazine was recently invited to a panel hosted by the CDC for information on the new vaccine protocols and to answer lingering questions as we head into this school year.
Symone Hairston and Fátima Coronado of the CDC helped clarify so many questions on the coronavirus vaccine, especially for the 6-month to 4-year-old population. They also explained the purpose and importance of vaccination. Overall, the coronavirus vaccine’s goal is to protect individuals from severe illness, hospitalization, and death, including long COVID. Long COVID is the prolonging of various symptoms ranging from fatigue to shortness of breath. The vaccine does not guarantee that an individual cannot still contract the virus, but provides an additional layer of protection that can keep children in school, at practice, and in attendance of all play dates. Being infected with COVID is more than just physical, it can have heavy emotional and financial costs. This is why it is so important to get our community vaccinated, to keep our children in school and our adults at work. Despite the emergence of new strands, which is a normal part of a developing virus, these vaccine regimens are still proven to be effective in preventing long-term effects. The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge for everyone who lives in America. You can find a place to get vaccinated through your child’s healthcare provider, local pharmacy, health department or by searching vaccines.gov. You can also text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you. After vaccination, some individuals may experience side effects such as pain and redness at the site of the vaccination or a slight fever and chills. Depending on the age of the patient, a variety of over-the-counter medications can be taken to relieve symptoms. You should refer to your primary care provider for suggestions of what specific medication to take. If you are not connected to one, please rely on V-Safe After Vaccination Health Checker which allows for virtual assistance in tracking and treating your symptoms post-vaccination. This is a free resource for all families. The CDC website should always be your first stop for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the coronavirus.