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Column originally published Jan 25, 2022

It Is Important To Get Vaccinated To Protect Everyone

Question: I am scared, and not sure what to do. At the beginning of the pandemic, both of us lost our job; we stayed home with our children. My husband did get two doses of Covid-19 vaccine recently, otherwise he would lose his job. I have been able to work from home, and there was little community spread. I felt safe not getting vaccinated. To be honest, I worry about this vaccine. I read that it can somehow change our own genes. Even though it is now approved for children, I am not getting our six- and nine-year-old children vaccinated. Now, with this Omicron variant, I don’t feel safe anymore. Although I can still work at home, our children will start school soon. I worry that they can get sick, and bring the virus home. All of their grandparents are vaccinated, but they are old and quite frail. I have a hard time deciding what to do. My husband told me that I should get over my fear of the vaccine; he got it and he is just fine. Please help me to make this difficult decision.


I can see why it is so hard for you to make this decision. Covid-19 came like an earthquake that hasn’t let up for almost two years. We thought it was getting better after the third wave with the Delta variant, now we have another wave with the Omicron variant. It is hard to be optimistic.

Covid-19 Coronavirus is different from any other virus. It is not just a bad cold or flu virus. At the beginning, it did spread like influenza. Once we started physical distancing, wearing masks, and sanitized our hands, the virus didn’t spread as quickly. It caused more severe pneumonia and deaths than influenza. The Delta variant was more dangerous than the original virus.

Then came the Omicron variant, and everything changed. It is much more infectious than earlier strains. It is spread through the air in addition to droplets, and as infectious as measles virus. If an infected person comes into a room of people, virtually everyone will get infected. Those with strong immunity may escape infection. Even those vaccinated with two doses of vaccine can get infected, although they may have no symptom, or their illness is very mild. The vast majority that are hospitalized, needed intensive care, or died, are unvaccinated.

Our province has escaped the full impact of Covid-19 until recent weeks. Almost all those infected have travelled out of province, or were their close contacts. There was very little community spread, until now. There are so many infected with this Omicron variant that we have to regard all public indoor space as potentially unsafe. This is very unsettling, especially for you.

Across the country, as well as in United States, Children’s Hospitals are seeing increasing number of children admitted with severe pneumonia and other complications of Covid-19 virus. Some have prolonged illness similar to adults. It is still a dangerous virus for children, although earlier reports suggested that they can have milder illness. That is why, after months of testing, the Covid-19 vaccine is now approved for children over 5 years of age.

Although we don’t have years or decades of experience with this vaccine, all scientific data around the world are very reassuring. There has been no pandemic like this after the Spanish flu a century ago. We never have a vaccine so widely used around the world in such a short time like the Covid-19 vaccines. There are very few reported serious complications, even with our modern way of tracking through internet. Although this mRNA vaccine was made with genetic material, it cannot change our genes. The vaccine stimulates our body to produce the spike protein of the virus so that our immune system can produce antibodies to fight the virus quickly.

I urge you to get your Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible, and have your children vaccinated also. This is the best way to protect all of you from getting infected with the virus, and protect their frail grandparents as well.