COVID-19 Vaccine Approval for Children Gives Our Family Hope

Meagan Cheney avatar

by Meagan Cheney |

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Twenty months. That’s how long it’s been since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. and I withdrew my kids from school. I was terrified for all three of them, but especially my daughter Austen, 6, who has Dravet syndrome.

Fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 than adults, and their symptoms tend to be milder. However, the illness can cause a high fever, and fevers often mean seizures for a little girl with Dravet syndrome.

Over the last 20 months, we have done everything in our power to keep Austen and her older siblings safe from the virus. And even though I am completely over home schooling at this point, I have continued to do it to keep them safe.

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When case numbers decreased, we brought back pieces of normality to our lives. We visited family in Texas this spring, and renewed our zoo memberships this summer. But we have never hesitated to tighten our restrictions back up when case numbers started increasing again.

But I must admit that we are tired, like most families probably are at this point. We decided early on that getting the COVID-19 vaccine would be our best bet for staying healthy and living a normal life, and we believe it was the right decision for our family.

Little by little, we have been getting vaccinated as they become available for different groups. Austen’s dad and I got our shots in February, and her 13-year-old sister, Addi, got hers in June. Since then, we have been patiently waiting for it to be approved for children ages 5-11 so that Austen and her 8-year-old brother, Atlas, can have their turn.

That’s a lie — I have not been waiting patiently. I have been following the news obsessively and eating up any information I can find about the rollout. This resulted in me crying happy tears on Tuesday when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the final approval for this age group to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

I was hoping I would be able to get the kids the vaccine right away, but as of this writing, the earliest I can get them in for their shots is Nov. 6 and 7 — one kid each day. I will have to drive 20 minutes north two days in a row, but to me, it’s worth it.

It’s worth it so that I don’t have to live in fear of my kids getting sick. It’s worth it to be able to spend Christmas with family, and have sleepovers with cousins again. Next semester, they will be able to return to school and start playing sports again.

My kids have missed out on so much life since March 2020. But thanks to the vaccine, I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Note: Dravet Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Dravet Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Dravet syndrome.

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