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Abduction? A concern. COVID-19? Not so much. Sensible? Of course not.

I was standing outside my school yesterday, listening as students talked about being vaccinated or preparing to be vaccinated. Based upon the chatter amongst students and the parents who have spoken to me, the vast majority of students at my school are getting vaccinated now that kids under the age of 12 are eligible.

I’m thrilled.

One child turned to me and asked, “What are the side effects of the vaccine?”

I opened my mouth, prepared to answer that even though I’m a teacher and am well informed on the subject, the best person to ask about vaccines is a  doctor, and of course, your parents.

But before I could get a single word out, another child said, “You don’t die! That’s the side effect!”

Damn good answer.

I don’t go into the numbers with these kids, but the truth is this:

Thankfully, very, very few children die from COVID-19, though the numbers are higher with the onset of the delta variant. We want kids to be vaccinated so that they don’t unknowingly spread the virus to friends, family members, or members of the community who are immunocompromised or unable to be vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons.

It’s also important to note that we have no idea how a COVID-19 infection may effect children in the future. The chicken pox virus, for example, can lay dormant in the body of a human being for decades before re-emerging to cause shingles in a person. Who knows what this coronavirus is capable of doing in the future?

If you can avoid being infected or avoid being infected multiple times, you should.

One more important fact:

Fewer than 700 children have died of COVID-19 during the course of the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every death of a child is a tragedy of enormous proportions, but also consider this:

Fewer than 100 children under the age of 18 are abducted by strangers in the United States per year. This means that abduction by stranger is less likely than death by COVID-19 for a young person, yet some parents spend their lives worried that someone is going to steal their child, not allowing their kids to play in the front yard or walk home from school. They track their children on their phones, lock their doors at all times, and in some cases never let their child out of their sights.

Yet these same parents won’t vaccinate their child, even though the risks of dying from COVID-19 are greater?

It makes no damn sense.

A child who has already been vaccinated against more than a dozen different diseases before the age of 2 can’t be vaccinated for one more potentially deadly disease? And the Pfiser and Moderna vaccines are MNRA vaccines, which means they quite literally add nothing to your actual body chemistry but simply train your body to fight the infection should it encounter the virus.

Yet still they resist. It makes no damn sense.

Perhaps they are worried that their child will become magnetic. Or they are concerned over the possibility of microchips in the vaccine. Or they worry that the vaccine isn’t safe after billions of people all over the world have received it already. Or maybe they are simply doing their own research – via Facebook, Newsmax, the Chinese-backed website also spreading conspiracies about JFK’s return, that lady at swim class who seems to know a lot, and that pretend doctor on the TV – and just haven’t completed their rigorous study yet.

Either way, it makes no damn sense.

Clara was vaccinated months ago as soon as she was eligible. Charlie was vaccinated on Saturday after a knock-down, drag-out fight over his fear of the needles.

The boy damn near lost his mind, and since I’m recovering from surgery, I was only able to minimally assist. Most of the muscle to hold him down came from Elysha. But in the end, he received the shot, and immediately after being stuck, he turned to me and said, “Oh, that’s it?”

The pharmacy where he was vaccinated was giving away gift cards to the traumatized parents of especially challenging children. No child that day was more difficult than Charlie. It’s not possible for any child to scream and squirm more than Charlie that day.

Yet we received no gift card.

Nevertheless, I can’t wait for the next one. Knowing that he’s fully vaccinated will remove a lot of worry from my mind.

Not so much the worry that if he gets COVID-19, he will end up in the hospital, though that worry (and that reality) do exist. Kids die from COVID-19. You’re kidding yourself if you pretend they don’t.

But more importantly, in the words of Charlie himself, “I just don’t want to be selfish and get anyone sick.”

He may be awful when it comes to needles, but he’s got a good head on his shoulders.