Why Latinos do not want to vaccinate their children against covid19
In California, Latino children are the least vaccinated against the virus
Grace Lomelí, a mother of a one-year-old and two-month-old boy, says that as long as her son cannot speak and express himself, she will not give him the covid-19 vaccine.
“I don't rule out putting it on in the future, but when you know how to say what hurts and if the vaccine gives you any side effects.”
Many Latino parents are still reluctant to vaccinate their minor children against covid-19, even though since June 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave an emergency authorization for the use of Pfizer's covid-19 vaccine in children from 6 months to 5 years, and the Moderna vaccine for children from 6 months to 6 years.
But Latino children are not the only ones less vaccinated, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , released in late January, indicate that in the United States, children in general are the least vaccinated of any other age group.
Less than 10% of eligible children have received their up-to-date booster shot and more than 90% of children under 5 years of age are not fully vaccinated.
Grace says she doesn't have confidence in the vaccine.
“First they said that it was not ready for children under 5 years of age; and out of nowhere, in a few weeks they announced that she was already there. It became very strange and very fast for us ”.
Therefore, he assures that he prefers to wait a little longer to see how the vaccine for children evolves and works.
She clarifies that neither she nor her husband are anti-vaccinations, since they have given their baby all the immunizations he needs, and she received two Pfizer vaccines against covid during pregnancy, but giving it to her only child is another stuff.
Nor did the position of her son's pediatrician help her make a decision.
“She asked me to give the child the influenza vaccine; And when he talked about the covid one, he told me, if you want, there is the covid one, in case you want to put it on. But she didn't push me like she did for the influence. She had no enthusiasm for the covid vaccine. So for now, I'm not going to risk my son.”
According to California for All statistics , only 2% of Latino children under the age of 5 had been vaccinated against covid in 2022.
This is the lowest number among all ethnic groups in California; and only 24% of Latino children between the ages of 5 and 11 had been vaccinated.
Esperanza Mayorga is the mother of a 5-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy. In her family, only her husband has been vaccinated against covid, because her tattoo business requires it, but neither she nor her two children have gotten the vaccine.
“We have had covid twice, in January 2021 and in February 2022, but we have been asymptomatic. We have not had any discomfort,” she explains.
Esperanza says that the reason they reject the covid-19 vaccine is because they consider that the long-term effects are not proven. “Why put something you don't know into your body,” she questions.
She also says that she suffers from hypothyroidism, and her doctor who practices functional medicine believes that it is enough to protect herself from covid, natural immunity and healthy practices, for which she has recommended doing sports, eating healthy, not having so much stress and to rest well.
As a consequence, she says that she makes her children exercise and eat healthy, not just what they are given in schools. “In school lunches they only give them junk products.”
And according to the information she has, it has already been proven that if you are healthy and you get sick from covid, you will not get serious, as happened to her and her family when they acquired the virus.
This mother regrets the excessive dissemination of the covid vaccine, when she says that the health authorities should focus on promoting healthy lifestyle habits with the same intensity.
Luckily, he notes that in Los Angeles schools, vaccinations have not been made mandatory. “We heard rumors for a while that they wanted to do it, but we also have rights and they can't force us.”
Pediatrician Dr. Ilan Shapiro, chief health correspondent and medical affairs officer at the Altamed clinic, says the low numbers of covid vaccinations among Latino children are due to many things.
“At the beginning of the vaccination, the Latino community did not have access, but this has improved. That same cycle has happened with children. The problem now is that many of our families are working and taking the child to be vaccinated makes them miss days of work. Nor can they afford to miss a week from work just because the child got a fever or ailments as a reaction to the vaccine.
On the other hand, he says that people are tired of so many vaccines, but we have to take into account that covid has not gone away. “Although the death rate is going down. Children and adults continue to get sick.
Consider that as parents it is worth being afraid, but the best thing we can do for our children under 10 years of age is to protect them with the covid vaccine.
“The vast majority of pediatricians are aligned in recommending that parents protect their children with the covid vaccine to reduce the possibility of complications if they get sick.”
He says that he took his youngest children to be vaccinated against covid. “It is my duty as a father to take care that they are excellently well; and give them that tool so that they have a happy life”.
Even though children are the least likely to die from covid, according to a study published on January 30, this virus is the eighth most common cause of death among minors in the United States, while it is the third cause of death among the General population.
Efigenia Flores was very sincere when she said that she has not vaccinated her 11-year-old son because the child does not want to, and at school they have not demanded it.
“Not even a child has been carried away by countless comments from his friends, such as that he will not be able to have children when he grows up, or that they are going to put a chip in his arm. That's how it happened to me too. I didn't want to get the vaccine at first. One gets carried away by all the misinformation against the vaccine that is circulating. I finally got the vaccine when my mom, who is older, was coming from Mexico to visit me.”
“But her son is still reluctant, he tells me to respect his decision not to get the vaccine.”
The minor has already fallen ill twice with covid, and although he has recovered quickly, Efigenia says that now she is already determined to take her son to be vaccinated, even against her will.
“I take care of him a lot. He does not go out without his mask, despite many criticizing us for continuing to wear it; and we give him vitamins, but I'm going to vaccinate him even if he doesn't want to, because he's a minor, and I make the decisions, ”she says determinedly.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) publishes on its website that they have aligned covid-19 vaccines for students with the state's implementation timeline that can begin on July 1, 2023.
“The science is clear, vaccines are essential to protect against covid-19. Students are encouraged to receive their immunizations. At this time, Pfizer booster shots are available to all eligible students at Los Angeles Unified School District immunization clinics.”
May Oey, founding principal of Valor Academy Elementary School in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Arleta, said that as a Bright Start Schools charter school they are required to follow LAUSD Board of Education requirements.
“We strongly encourage all students and their families to get fully vaccinated against covid-19, but it is not a requirement to attend school. To the extent required by the State of California, the earliest the vaccine could be established as a requirement is July 1, 2023.”
And he added that they have conducted numerous vaccination clinics on the Bright Star School s campuses to make it easier for students, parents and families to access vaccines.
Due to the end of the state of emergency for covid-19 in the state of California, scheduled for February 28, at this time we do not know if the plan to add the Covid-19 vaccine to the list of 10 vaccines for children as a requirement for attending school in person is going into effect.
Dr. Yelba Castellón López of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), one of the researchers of the Mi Vacuna LA study , whose results were revealed last year and which included several focus groups with Latino children from 5 to 11 years, found that there was still a lot of mistrust towards the vaccine.
“The main fears had to do with possible side effects, which are more likely to have if they get covid than with the vaccine; and the fear of losing fertility in the future”.
However, the family medicine doctor says that they discovered that families need more information to be convinced of the benefits of the vaccine, but also other parents shared that their children's doctors helped them to have confidence in the vaccine.
And he specifies that they, as doctors, are based on science, not myths.
“The covid vaccine is like any other vaccine that babies receive. There is nothing different because even though it is a new vaccine. the science of this vaccine is not new.”
It makes it clear that sharing false vaccine information through videos and other materials from untrustworthy sources is scaring the fire and hurting the community.
“My biggest recommendation for parents is to trust the science and talk to your GP. Healthy habits are important, but not enough, and although it is less common for children to have severe covid, there is a risk of an inflammatory disease; and 70% of the children who have it are Latino ”.
So she advised parents to get informed and do everything possible to vaccinate their children and give them updated boosters because they have protections against new covid variants.