a doctor giving a vaccine to a young girl, both are in blue surgical masks


What Happened When My Husband And I Disagreed About Vaccinating Our Children

Jan 10, 2022

"I don’t want my kids getting vaccinated," my husband said to a family member, citing his fear of the unknown. His comment came on the heels of the FDA’s announcement that Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine was authorized to be used for children five to 11 years old.

"I want to be vaccinated!" My nine-year-old piped up, overhearing her dad’s comments across the room. I was stunned to hear my husband, Daniel, become so vocal — and sound so anti-vaccine — especially in front of our children.

In the early stages of vaccine administration, Brianna was nervous about getting her own shot. Here's how she handled her hesitancy.

Processing Fear

Later that night when the kids were in bed, I asked him why he said what he did. I thought we both agreed that our children would be vaccinated when the time came, but I also realized that was just an assumption I had made. We talked about the need to process our fears about vaccines quietly, and out of earshot of our children (a challenge when it feels like we have been together for two years straight without much respite).

"His outburst was just one example of the stress this pandemic has placed on parents."

Looking back, I know that Daniel was just worried and stressed. His outburst was just one example of the stress this pandemic has placed on parents. But at the time, we had to navigate his fears as a couple, while also coming to an agreement about vaccinations. Our two eligible kids were eager to be vaccinated — their reasoning was that the sooner they were vaccinated the sooner the pandemic would be behind them.

I urged Daniel to do some of his own research and listen to top doctors on the subject. His concern wasn’t unusual, most of my friends were doing extra research around the vaccination of their children. Even the most staunchly pro-vaccine parents can be extra careful when it comes to sticking a needle in their own child.

Quentin Janes didn't want the vaccine, but he ended up getting it so he could play paintball with his daughter. And he's glad he changed his mind after all.

Getting Us On The Same Page

I found a CBC Front Burner episode particularly helpful. Titled "COVID-19 vaccines for kids: what you need to know," it featured Dr. Fatima Kakkar, an infectious disease pediatrician. Knowing that children ages five to 11 received a much lower dosage of the vaccine than adults did — one third of the dosage, to be more specific — helped me to soothe my anxiety around the jab.

My husband did his own independent research, and found it helpful to know that doctors were vaccinating their own children — while also reading about and listening to podcasts featuring Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

"Because of our research, we felt calm and confident about choosing to vaccinate our kids."

After a few weeks of discussing together and researching on our own, Daniel and I both decided that we wanted to vaccinate our eligible children.

We booked an appointment, and soon after our two eldest children had received their first dosage of the vaccine. It felt like a monumental moment, and I was thankful that we came to the decision together. And because of our research, we felt calm and confident about choosing to vaccinate our kids.

While we eventually came to the same conclusion, it would have been much more challenging if Daniel never did agree with vaccinating our kids. I’m not sure how we would have handled that situation, especially if our kids wanted the vaccine.

In the end, I feel like science and reason won out, and for that I am very thankful.

Article Author Brianna Bell
Brianna Bell

Read more from Brianna here.

Brianna Bell is a writer and journalist based in Guelph, Ontario. She has written for many online and print publications, including Scary Mommy, The Penny Hoarder, and The Globe and Mail.

Brianna's budget-savvy ways have attracted media attention and led to newspaper coverage in The Globe and Mail and The Guelph Mercury.

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