My family and I live in in a Northern suburb just outside of Chicago. Over the past two years of the pandemic we have put up with a lot of garbage, and although I have disagreed with many issues, I’ve mostly complied, albeit unhappily.
Stay home? Fine. Nothing is open anyway. Wear a mask? Fine. If that means we can leave our houses. Get a vaccine? Hesitant, but if that means we can get on with our lives already, fine. Take off our masks? Hurray! I have been waiting for this moment. Give your 12-15 year old the vaccine? Hesitant, but okay, if it helps us get back to normal…and now 3 out of 5 members of my family are vaccinated so, surely, we’ll be safe, because none of us have gotten Covid, yet.
Wait, now it’s August 2021- put your masks back on! The vaccine isn’t working!
October 2021- I get Covid, along with my 11 year old and 4 year old: the two remaining family members who are not vaccinated. Six weeks later, I have finally regained my strength and my taste is starting to come back.
November 2, 2021: The Pfizer vaccine is approved for 5-11 year olds. My 11 year old just recovered from Covid at the end of October so we’re definitely not getting him the vaccine now. Also, the vaccine didn’t seem to work that great. Six weeks of being sick was enough for me to come to the conclusion that the vaccine isn’t effective enough.
December 21, 2021 – The City of Chicago announces that any individual over the age of 5 who wishes to dine at a restaurant, visit a gym, or go to a theater or event must be fully vaccinated. The mandate begins January 3, 2022.
Soon after, Cook County (where I reside) followed suit. On January 3, 2022, the mandate began.
As of January 3, my 11 year old son was not even 90 days past his Covid infection. While some doctors disagree and say that one can get their Covid vaccine immediately following their infection, many also say to wait at least 90 days. After he was sick with Covid for a week, I wasn’t rushing to give him the vaccine. I have a friend who didn’t run to get her 9 year old the vaccine in November when it was approved and her child became infected with Covid in December. The rest of her family is vaccinated and she fully intended on doing it eventually, but now her kid can’t go anywhere that the rest of the family can go. Now what does she do?
My 11 year old son was supposed to start guitar lessons at a place that offers both dance and music lessons, and because it is considered a fitness center, I received an email on January 3 that all children attending any lessons need to send in a picture of their vaccination card. When I spoke to two different people over the phone about this, they responded that it was a shame he couldn’t start lessons there, but that was it. I was refunded my money immediately.
My husband has season tickets to the Bulls, who play at the United Center in Chicago, where a vaccination card is required. My 11 year old son can’t go to games anymore. He’s the only one who ever wanted to go to the games with my husband.
Depending on which restaurant we choose to go to, everyone in our family can dine in, except the 11 year old. Even our four year old can dine in, because he is not eligible for the vaccine.
We recently (October) purchased a family membership to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Guess who can’t go to the aquarium anymore until he’s vaccinated?
The Jewish schools my children attend had their mid-winter break last week and the kids were home from school for a week. Many indoor places required vaccine cards for children over the age of 5 to enter and therefore there were many places we could not go. We went outdoor ice skating in Chicago (no vaccine required), then headed up to Wisconsin for three days for some well-deserved freedom. Another bonus is that in Wisconsin you don’t need to wear a mask, in addition to not needing a vaccination card. We stayed at a wonderful resort where my kids were able to swim, play in the arcade room, and even walk around the hotel mask-less! The people working at the coffee shop and ice cream store in the hotel were serving food mask-less. What a breath of fresh air. Literally.
We recently visited New York City for a family wedding. At the hotel we stayed at we were required to show our vaccine cards for everyone above the age of 5 in order to be able to swim in the pool. Thankfully, they weren’t too careful at counting the amount of vaccine cards equaling the same amount of people we were checking in and everyone was able to swim.
For so long, I followed all the rules, as ridiculous as they seemed, yet we have gotten no further. I got vaccinated, I wore a mask. Two months after the vaccine was approved for 5-11 year olds the children were put under the mandate, which means that according to the CDC and the City of Chicago and Cook County, one is only fully vaccinated two weeks post the second vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is taken three weeks apart. So, unless you scheduled your child’s Pfizer vaccine within the first week that it was authorized for emergency use, your child could not go to any of these places on January 3.
I wasn’t trying to be rebellious before, but now I’m mad. My son JUST had Covid. He is not getting the vaccine. There is no need! He is young, he recovered from Covid fairly quickly (Unlike myself who was double vaccinated, sick for 6 weeks and still haven’t gotten my taste back 100%). Of course, he is also my child who reacted terribly to vaccines as a baby. He was always sick with fevers for days after his vaccines. So much so, that my pediatrician let me do a delayed vaccine schedule for his 5 year old vaccines. This past summer, when he turned 11, we went to the doctor and he had 4 vaccines that he needed. I said to our pediatrician, “No way are you shooting him up with all of those today!” I looked her in the eye and promised her I would be back for the next ones if she let me do 2 today and come back in a month for the next 2. She wasn’t happy, but she allowed it. This is aside from her usual coercion to get a flu shot every year that I deny.
I waited for the vaccine to be approved and since my 13 year old got her vaccine in July I kept promising my 11 year old that soon it would be his turn! But, then he got Covid and things changed. There are many children who got Covid in the months leading up to the approval of the Pfizer vaccine whose parents are vaccinated and would have otherwise given their child the vaccine. But, now it makes no sense to give these children a vaccine. And, I’m not giving him the vaccine just because the city of Chicago or Cook County wants me to! It still makes no sense to give a child a vaccine less than 90 days after he was sick with Covid and possibly ever, but we won’t start a debate on that.
So, where does this leave us? Those of us whose families are all vaccinated, aside from the children ages 5-11 who were just approved for the vaccine. What do I do? Do I get him a vaccine he doesn’t need, because he probably has natural immunity, and make him sick for two days? Then, can he go play at Chuckee Cheese with his mask on? Can he go for guitar lessons at a music school? Can he dine in his favorite restaurant? Why are these children being punished?