Kids can finally get vaccinated. This is how we know it’s safe

Taylor Hirth’s daughter took part in the pediatric Pfizer vaccine trial (photo submitted).

Back in June, with the prospect of my 8-year-old daughter returning to full-time, in-person schooling fast approaching, I took the opportunity to enroll her in the pediatric Pfizer vaccine trial.

While there was only a 50% chance of her receiving the vaccine vs. a placebo, I figured that 50% was better than nothing. As a single mom, I have learned to take every precaution available to safeguard against needing to use up valuable sick and vacation time on preventable illnesses. That includes wearing a mask, being diligent about hygiene, getting the yearly flu shot, and now, getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

Last Wednesday morning, thanks to the emergency use authorization being approved for the Pfizer vaccine, I was notified that as trial participants we’d have the option to be unblinded earlier than originally anticipated.

I enthusiastically took that option, eager to know whether or not my daughter had some protection from a virus that has killed people I know, hospitalized others and upended our lives for the past nearly two years.

On Friday we were given the welcome news that my daughter had, in fact, received the pediatric Pfizer vaccine back in July.

I am aware that my daughter was not at high risk for complications or hospitalization from COVID-19. That doesn’t mean that we’re out of the woods. While my eagerness to get her vaccinated was motivated in part by a desire to prevent long-haul symptoms should she contract it, in truth it was always more about protecting those people in our lives who are at high risk for complications from COVID-19.

Last December, before a planned get-together with family including my dad who has a rare Leukemia, I opted to take a COVID test just to be safe. I had been feeling run down and sore but attributed any symptoms to the stress of first time homeownership, moving and unpacking.

Imagine my shock when my test came back positive.

Cue exhaustion, muscle aches, shortness of breath and waves of other strange symptoms that lasted for months and still seem to occasionally reappear. But what really stuck with me was the fact that even though I had been careful, I had almost unknowingly exposed my immunocompromised father to a virus that could have killed him. My dad isn’t the only immunocompromised or at-risk person in my life. I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to any of them and I was the one who had put that chain of events into motion.

So when the option to get myself vaccinated came about, I jumped at the chance. And when the option to get my daughter vaccinated early was presented, I jumped at that chance as well. Read more