Even though billions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally, including hundreds of millions in the United States alone, in some communities—particularly Hispanic—there is still a considerable level of indecision due to concerns about the safety and effectiveness of vaccination.
In this cyber age, it is very likely that the COVID vaccine has received the most media coverage in the history of medicine. But the informative bombardment is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, we are drowning in a tsunami of misinformation where wild and unfounded theories proliferate; and on the other hand we have solid scientific information, but it is often written in technical language or inadequate format, which makes it inaccessible or incomprehensible.
Fortunately, institutional efforts have emerged to remedy both problems. The public sector and independent organizations have created campaigns that aim to expose the falsity of conspiracy theories about COVID vaccines. Additionally, there are more and more culturally and linguistically appropriate information resources available to make them easy to understand for our Hispanic community.
As a journalist, I have had the opportunity to collaborate in one of these efforts and I am deeply impressed by the commitment of communication professionals dedicated to producing useful and effective materials that help debunk myths and present truthful data so that our community can make well-informed decisions about vaccines, especially now that they are available for our children five years and older, and the booster dose for everyone 12 years and older.
Why should I vaccinate my child? How do we know that vaccines are safe for children? How many doses of the vaccine does my child need? Who can receive the COVID-19 vaccine? These are all legitimate questions and all parents deserve to have clear and precise answers.
Despite all the noise and misinformation circulating on social networks, the reality is that vaccines and booster doses are the best protection for children at this time since the vast majority of children hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated.
And while children are unlikely to develop serious illness from COVID, your child can spread the virus to someone who is at risk for serious illness, like grandparents, cousins, classmates, or anyone in your community. It is also true that, although rare, some children develop serious illnesses. Doctors are also unaware of the effects of “long-term COVID,” which causes symptoms in some children months after infection.
We all know that good decisions are made with good information. Having access to reliable data, based on statistics and scientific data, is extremely important to protect our most important heritage: our families.
For more information, download the Toolkit on the Importance of COVID-19 Vaccines for Children here: https://bit.ly/3Ipn6K9