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Pfizer for Christmas – Vaccinating Mark, 9 Years Old, Against COVID-19

If the year 2020 shall be remembered as the year of stocking up on toilet paper to face a global pandemic, 2021 was the year of clashes over vaccination.

Go figure.

Personally, I’d rather fight a pandemic with vaccines than with toilet paper, even if it’s a very shitty situation.

Oh, I’m sorry—do I really want to talk about the pandemic? Absolutely not. Are you coming here to read about it? Probably not, I’m sure you’re staying up to date with the news, whether you want it or not.

But hey, COVID ain’t going away. In fact, it’s making headlines again—fifth wave in Europe, brand-new variant, and Health Canada approving the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine for 5 to 11 years old.

… Mark? Santa brought you Pfizer!

To be honest, I was way more enthusiastic about COVID-19 vaccines for kids a few months ago. I believe in vaccination and vaccines—yes, all of them, inactivated vaccines, live-attenuated or (gasp!) mRNA vaccines. In fact, I’ve never felt the need to question vaccination because I’m not qualified to develop and study vaccines, I’m just an average citizen who understand science and vaccinology 101 if explained properly. I mean, I pop an Advil once in a while and I don’t know all the active ingredients (ibuprofen?) or what it does to my body exactly except making me feel better. I find it hard to believe some people think vaccines alter their DNA, contain mysterious ingredients (including nanotransducers!) or cause a bunch of issues—do they also analyze what they drink, eat or are exposed to every day???

So yeah, I believe in vaccination. I’m just not in a “yay, fighting COVID one dose at the time!” mood because…

… well, because I’m getting really confused here. Forgive me for the clickbait-style statement, but kids are getting vaccinated because a stubborn part of the eligible adult population who has access to vaccines refuses to get vaccinated. Direct benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for kids aren’t as clear as for adults, most benefits are indirect, basically protecting vulnerable adults and helping end the pandemic.

And two doses are so yesterday, anyway. Now we need a booster dose, like now—not yet in Canada but it’s coming. Ten days ago, France added an extra step to keep vaccine passes valid—third dose for everyone 18+, else lose your pass by January 15. Considering relatively few countries offer a third dose to all adults (and many more are still struggling to get the population vaccinated), I find it pretty drastic to consider two doses “unvaccinated” and cancel vaccine passes.

But wait, we have a new variant now! So do current vaccines even work or will we need more doses?

I felt good after getting my second dose. I’m still convinced vaccines don’t harm us. But I’m also wondering how far we’re going to go with restrictions, mandates, health passes and all.

COVID fatigue is real but we’re still trying to do the right thing, so we booked an appointment for Mark’s COVID vaccine.

Last Thursday, we showed up at the Nepean Sportsplex about 15 minutes before Mark’s appointment time. Not that we wanted to jump the queue, it’s just impossible to time it perfectly with rush-hour traffic.

Families were lined up outside, in the cold. Sure enough, a giant bilingual sign read “Wait until the exact time of your appointment.”

I sighed, momentarily annoyed that we had to wait outside like dogs for the sake of social distancing. I mean, it’s Canada, it’s December, it’s fucking cold, and Nepean Sportsplex is huge.

“Like a nightclub queue!” a friend of mine joked.

“Except kids don’t carry fancy handbags but stuffed animals,” I texted back.

The entire process was very, very slow. I was asked about twenty thousand times if Mark had any COVID symptoms and we waited for quite a while. Trust me, a repurposed gym full of kids crying before, during and after vaccination is the last place where you want to spend the evening.

But hey, it’s done and Mark was very brave.

Plus, now he glows in the dark!

Just kidding, zero side effects for him.

COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa
COVID vaccine for kids, Nepean Sportsplex, December 3, Ottawa

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