For more than a year, we’ve done our due diligence to keep our most vulnerable populations safe from the deadly coronavirus. We wore our masks, stayed home when possible and kept six feet away from others — and with the rollout of the vaccine, we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Still, some parents are a bit more hesitant than others about getting the shot. But Dr. Kevin Lokar, who is board certified in preventative medicine and serves as the current Medical Director of the Macomb County Health Department, says that it’s critical that those who can get vaccinated do so as soon as possible.
Why is getting the vaccine so important?
According to Dr. Lokar, those who get vaccinated are not only protecting themselves and others from the virus, but they’re also helping to bring the pandemic to an end
“We will not fully contain this pandemic until vaccination levels in the population reach 70% or higher,” he says. And “it is very important to receive both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as one dose will not provide sufficient protection against COVID-19.”
Of course, adults aren’t the only ones that should get vaccinated. Parents of kids who are returning to school in the fall, and who are eligible to get the vaccine, should make plans to get their kids vaccinated, too.
One reason kids should get vaccinated is to avoid quarantining during the school year if they are exposed to COVID-19.
“Children who are fully vaccinated and who have been exposed to COVID-19 will not have to complete a 10-day quarantine period and will be able to continue going to school and participating in other activities such as sports,” he explains.
Another huge reason is to prevent outbreaks in our kids’ schools.
“Currently, only 20% of children 12-15 years of age in Macomb County are fully vaccinated and only 37% of children 16-19 years of age are fully vaccinated,” Lokar explains. “These rates are not high enough to prevent school outbreaks —especially if masks are no longer worn by unvaccinated persons.”
Debunking misconceptions and vaccinating your family
Of course, it’s only natural for parents to want the best for their kids and it’s understandable for them to be cautious, but it’s also important for parents to know the facts, too. A lot of what you may have heard simply isn’t true.
“Unfortunately, social media platforms have disseminated incorrect information very efficiently. COVID vaccines do not alter a person’s DNA (and) they do not cause infertility or make a person magnetic,” Lokar says. “The vaccines were studied in well-designed clinical trials and have been administered to millions of persons 12-19 years of age. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.”
Families who are able and want to get vaccinated may do so at the Macomb County Health Department, hospital clinics and community pharmacies throughout Macomb County.
The COVID-19 vaccine is administered in the same way as any other childhood vaccine and is free of charge at most locations.
“COVID-19 is a vaccine preventable disease for children 12 years of age and older just like many other diseases such as measles, rubella, chickenpox, or pertussis,” Dr. Lokar adds.
“We have an opportunity to have a mostly normal K-12 school year if most children (who are eligible to be vaccinated) get vaccinated.”
You can find more information about getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Macomb County on the Macomb County Health Department’s website. For more information about living in Macomb County, visit the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development at Make Macomb Your Home.