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NC parents relieved to vaccinate their youngest kids

Amanda Redic with 10-month-old Emma Redic shortly before Emma received her COVID-19 vaccination.
Jason deBruyn
/
WUNC
Amanda Redic with 10-month-old Emma Redic shortly before Emma received her COVID-19 vaccination.

Jonathan and Amanda Redic carried 10-month-old Emma through the front door of a Wake County vaccination clinic in Raleigh. The toddler had a pink bow in her hair and held on to a yellow rattle toy while Amanda checked her in, and answered a nurse’s questions.

"Has she had any reactions to any vaccines she's had already?" the nurse asked.

"No," replied Redic.

"Any allergies that you know of?" asked the nurse.

"Nope," came the quick reply.

"Has she been sick with a fever in the past two weeks?"

"Not at all."

Wearing blue surgical gloves, the nurse pulled a single vaccine dose out of a Tupperware container. She double-checked it was Moderna, since that was the brand of vaccine that Redic got when she was pregnant with Emma.

"Alright, let's do a pretty pink Band-Aid," said the nurse, smiling warmly at Emma. "It will match your bow."

And then came the big moment. Even with masks covering both of their faces, Jonathan and Amanda beamed with excitement. After the nurse administered the shot, Emma's parents congratulated her.

10-month-old Emma Redic back in the waiting room after getting a COVID-19 vaccination
Jason deBruyn
/
WUNC
10-month-old Emma Redic back in the waiting room after getting a COVID-19 vaccination
4-year-old Balthazar Everett showing off his Band-Aid after receiving his COVID-19 vaccination.
Jason deBruyn
/
WUNC
4-year-old Balthazar Everett showing off his Band-Aid after receiving his COVID-19 vaccination.
Candy and crayons at the Wake Health vaccination clinic off Departure Drive in Raleigh.
Jason deBruyn
/
WUNC
Candy and crayons at the Wake Health vaccination clinic off Departure Drive in Raleigh.

Emma barely reacted to the shot. By the time her parents carried her back to the waiting room, she acted as if nothing had happened. Amanda, on the other hand, said this was a big deal for her.

"I was able to get vaccinated when I was pregnant with her, and so we're just really excited to take that next step in protecting her," she said.

Other parents in the waiting room felt similar relief. Raleigh resident Megan Everett has four children. The oldest three have all been vaccinated but not her 4-year-old son, Balthazar.

"This one is the one I'm the most worried about," she said. "He has asthma and a minor heart condition that he was born with. None of which affects his normal life, but we don't know what would happen if he caught COVID."

Balthazar popped two lollipops in his mouth at the same time. He was mostly excited that they were headed to Target where he would get to pick out a toy for being brave and getting the shot.

"I've spent literally half his life at this point worried that at any point he could come down with something that could take him out," she said, letting out a short sigh of relief. "I'm feeling pretty good today."

As with many other parents of small children, Everett was frustrated when earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration seemed so close to approving the vaccine for young kids, only to decide at the last minute that it wasn't yet appropriate. But it also gave her confidence.

"I feel even more confident in the efficacy and the safety of the shot because they took so long. They didn't rush this, they took their time, they did it right," she said.

Pediatricians and public health offices around the state have received doses of the vaccine this week and say they are ready for parents to bring their little ones.

Seema Seth, the site lead for the Wake Public Health clinic off Departure Drive, said parents have been asking about vaccines for the youngest kids, and she's been happy to be able to offer them.

"They're stopping by just to check with us (to ask) when it's available," Seth said. "We've had good traffic today."

State health officials encourage parents to vaccinate their children, saying the vaccine is safe and effective. There could be some minor side effects, but health officials say those are normal and almost always wear off in a day or two.

Jason deBruyn is the WUNC health reporter, a beat he took in 2020. He has been in the WUNC newsroom since 2016.
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