"You Deserve One Too" Parents, Kids, and Vaccines


By Whitney Kimball Coe
Director of the Rural Assembly

My 8- and 11-year-old daughters received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine this month.

They ran through the aisles of Walgreens and practically tap-danced behind the pharmacist as she led them into a little room covered in Disney posters and sat them next to a big bowl of candy.

The occasion felt celebratory, and I hadn’t realized until that moment that my girls were just as eager as I was to get that shot, that they too have been holding their breath these last 21 months.

They too have been on the frontlines of sickness, enduring virtual school and navigating the fraught re-entry back to in-person instruction.

They’ve worn masks all day every day, missed birthdays and milestones, overheard adult conversations laced with hope and hurt, and they know that our collective emergence from this pandemic depends upon individual initiative.

They eagerly presented their arms, and after the shot, Lucy chose the banana candy and Susannah picked the watermelon lollipop. Before we left, the pharmacist offered the candy bowl to me. “You deserve some, too,” she said. 

Whitney Kimball Coe is the director of National Programs at the Center for Rural Strategies. In that role, she leads the Rural Assembly, a nationwide movement striving to build better policy and more opportunity for rural communities across the country. As an organizer, speaker, moderator, and writer, Whitney has shared her perspectives on community and civic courage with audiences around the world. She has been featured on stage at the Aspen Ideas Festival and the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit, and as a guest on the radio program On Being with Krista Tippett.

Tell us about your experience getting the kid-friendly Covid-19 vaccine. Did you encounter a candy bowl? Was it difficult to get off work to take your child? Is the vaccine easily accessible in your neck of the woods? Email us your story to tracy@ruralstrategies.org.

Speaking of vaccines ....

As you head into a Thanksgiving gathering, the topic of vaccines is likely to come up. Here are some facts to have handy.

1. Boosters now recommended for adults 18 and up 

Is your Cousin Kim wondering if she can get the booster? 

She probably can!
Last week, the CDC expanded recommendations for booster shots to include all adults ages 18 years and older who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at least six months after their second dose.

Uncle Bob still on the fence about getting a vaccine at all?

The CDC continues to encourage the 47 million adults who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves, their families, loved ones and communities. These Ad Council videos are perfect for rural audiences. 

2. Vaccines are safe and effective for kids 5-11

Is your sister wondering if she should really vaccinate her younger children? 

Covid-19 is one of the worst respiratory illnesses we’ve seen in children in a long time, says pediatrician Dr. Lee Savio Beers, president of the American Academy of Pediatricians.  Beers explains in this short video that the Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective and significant side effects are extremely rare. Learn more from Dr. Beers here. 

Anyone can find available vaccines near them at vaccines.gov and can consult their health care provider or local pharmacist if they have questions about vaccines or boosters.

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