Local parents voice importance for vaccinating children against COVID-19

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — Thanksgiving is now just eight days away and as the holiday season continues to approach, officials are urging parents to consider vaccinating their children before visiting any friends or family.

This comes after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisers backed the Pfizer vaccine for children and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended vaccinating them as well.

According to the state Department of Health (WADOH), 1284 COVID-19 cases were associated with outbreaks in K‐12 schools in the 2021-22 school year.

For Kennewick father Juan Caballero, vaccinating his 10-year-old son is key for keeping him and the rest of the family safe.

“We actually were some of the first in line to get an appointment to get the vaccination,” Caballero said. “It’s very important for us and our community.”

Caballero said it’s also crucial for Latinos in the Tri-Cities to get vaccinated as many live in multi-generational homes “because there’s such a lagging rate of vaccination in this area right now.”

His son, Cruz, a fifth-grade student, said the past year was “a little scary” so he was excited to get vaccinated last Saturday.

“I didn’t think it was going to do anything bad. I also wanted to just see my cousins, my grandpa, my grandma, and my friends and everything,” he said. “My dad said it was going to be a little bit like the flu shot, basically.”

Cruz added that the shot “actually didn’t hurt that bad” and he didn’t experience extreme or severe side effects.

For other kids who are worried about the vaccine, Cruz said he’d tell them that “it doesn’t hurt and don’t be scared.”

Also among those recently vaccinated are Uppa Shakya’s two daughters, aged seven and nine, who chose to get the shots last Thursday.

“They’re happy, they feel safe too,” Shakya said. “Their arms were a little sore but no fever, no chills, nothing. My younger one, she went to school the next morning.”

Shakya said vaccinating her kids was necessary as they plan to travel abroad to Nepal to visit family next month.

“I think there’s no need to worry, you know, my kids are safe and they’re doing great,” Shakya said. “It’s for their safety, it’s for the community’s [safety], so I think it’s better to get them vaccinated.”

Another local mother, Samantha Shinker Cox, told KAPP-KVEW in a statement that she agrees with Shakya and believes it’s “important to vaccinate everyone for the good of our community.”

“I now know going into the holidays the older folks in our family will be even more protected with our littles vaccinated,” Cox wrote.

Multiple school districts in the area have set up vaccine clinics for students.

For the Kennewick SD, click here.

For the Richland SD, click here.

For the Walla Walla SD, click here.

“We’re just hopeful that a lot of people will get vaccinated before the holidays coming up and they’ll be safe,” Caballero said. “You know we’re all in this together so hopefully this is something that everyone can see is a valuable thing to do.”


More than 44,000 Washington children ages 5-11 have first dose of COVID vaccine

White House: 10% of kids have been vaccinated in 1st 2 weeks