To COVID vax a teenager, that is the question (Opinion)
As of Monday, the eligibility for a COVID vaccine was opened up to everyone 16 years and older. That's right, everyone.
Now if you thought they weren't giving vaccines to kids, you weren't entirely wrong. The Moderna vaccine is not offered to 16 or 17 year olds because it was never tested on people under 18 prior to being granted that emergency use authorization. But the Pfizer vaccine is a go for those teenagers.
Gov. Murphy set a goal to have 70% of our eligible New Jersey population vaccinated by the end of June. With the pause button thrown on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you'd think that would throw a monkey wrench in those plans. He says it can still be done.
Now the epic question.
Would you vaccinate your 16 or 17 year old? I don't think I would. At least not at this point. My reason is while some people that age can get sick from COVID-19, and some have even died, those numbers are incredibly low. With that age group, even if they contract the virus it seems so highly unlikely that they would be in danger that I think I would pass.
I believe in the vaccination program for those who are more vulnerable. I was vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine before it was halted. But I'm not 16. I also have a serious underlying condition. This new vaccine, whose long-term effects cannot be known, seemed a good bet for someone like me. But does it make sense for my 16-year-old son? I don't think just yet.
Yes, I know he may soon need proof of vaccination even to travel, or to attend certain live events. Those are considerations that I'll take into account when that's in play. Yes, I know he could still contract it and spread to others. But as the population grows closer to hitting that 70% (we're at about a third now) it poses less and less of a risk to others. So for now I'm not looking to pull the trigger.
Should he come to me having made his own informed decision and tell me he wants the shots, I'll talk to him about it. I'll talk to him about what we know and what we don't about these vaccines. If he deliberates wisely and still prefers to have one, I would consider it. But I'm not bringing it up to him at this point.
It's funny how everyone has an opinion on everyone else's business. Some will say I'm a terrible father for leaving my son at risk, or for not vaccinating him to help achieve herd immunity. Others will say that's the right thing to do and that I was terrible for having been vaccinated myself, playing into the hands of "big pharma," blah blah blah.
Recently I was even told I was wrong for having ever given ANY vaccine to ANY of my children because it caused two of my children to become autistic, something that has been debunked time and time again.
I was told I was a liberal for putting faith in science rather than abandoning science and let God handle things.
Whatever you choose to do is your business. But I do wonder how most parents are leaning regarding teenagers. Would you give them the shot? Take our poll below.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.