We CAN Do This: A Call to Action for Military Parents

son with mother at a doctor's office holding a piece of gauze to his arm while a physician in PPE rests a hand on his shoulder, signaling comfort. We Can Do This and MMC logos in the bottom left corner
This content was paid for by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and The Military Mom Collective is proud to support the effort to share facts about COVID-19 vaccines. For more information or to find vaccines near you, visit vaccines.gov; text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233.

At the time of writing this, I am awaiting my COVID-19 test results.

I started feeling congested and had a headache. I hoped for a cold. But when my headache and exhaustion continued and several coworkers were positive for COVID, I scheduled my test. I was afraid: what if I am positive? What does this mean for work? What if I feel worse and worse? What will my family do or what if they also get it?

But the one thought that ran through my mind from the start of the sniffles to the pounding headache was this: I’m so glad we are vaccinated.

After careful research and consideration, my entire family chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This pandemic took much of the world out of our control. Suddenly, all normalcy was halted to fight this rapidly spreading virus. I felt helpless as I watched all of us navigate life with masks, social distancing, virtual school and work, and loss of hope.

This is why vaccination was so important to me and my family. This was a chance to mitigate a virus that was changing our entire world. This was something tangible that we could do for our family to help keep us safe. While we knew that vaccines did not guarantee that we would never contract the virus, we knew that it would minimize our potential illness and the risk of long-term illness or side effects.

We chose vaccination, and now The Military Mom Collective is uniting with the Department of Health and Human Services to make sure you have the most accurate information to make this choice for your family.

Why vaccination?

Did you know that since August, 1 in 5 new COVID cases have been in children?  That is a staggering number. With many children unable to receive vaccines like adults, I felt like my children were more vulnerable than my husband and I were. Vaccines can bring that number down and help prevent severe illness and death from COVID. Remember when I mentioned above that my first thought while testing was how thankful I was that we were vaccinated? This is exactly why!

We considered the virus itself versus the possible side effects of the vaccine. Research has shown that COVID is a greater threat to your child than any potential risk from side effects of the vaccine. While there is no way to know how COVID will affect your child, clinical trials have shown vaccines help prevent severe illness and death from COVID.

Also, children are four times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID if they live in a state with low vaccination rates compared to states with high vaccination rates. This made us realize that vaccinating our children would help protect them as they returned to school and other activities.

A new vaccine can feel intimidating, but it gave me the peace of mind to know that we were doing everything we could to protect ourselves and our children from COVID.

And now, everyone ages 5 and up can receive the COVID vaccine!

Millions of people have safely received COVID vaccines under the most rigorous safety monitoring in U.S. history. They are the most closely monitored vaccines in U.S. history and are being monitored just as closely in children. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect our families and make life safer for everyone. We all miss gatherings with family and friends, traveling, events, and more; this is a way to bring this all back with health and safety.

But what about the side effects?

screenshot of mother and daughter holding up two fingers with "SECOND DOSE" in text and Let's Get Vaccinated sticker
My oldest daughter and I after receiving our second dose of the COVID vaccine.

Everyone has differing experiences with the side effects of the vaccine. Short-term side effects from the vaccine are normal and typically last for a couple days after vaccination. The good news is that children who’ve gotten a COVID vaccine have the same temporary side effects as adults. They are signs that the vaccine is working and that your child’s body is building protection against the virus!

Common side effects include:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling where you got your shot
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Please remember: the risks from COVID far outweigh any risks from side effects of the vaccine. I would rather spend a day or two dealing with some uncomfortable side effects than have my child home or hospitalized with COVID.

Want more information about the benefits of getting vaccinated? Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Everyone in the United States ages 5 and older is eligible to get vaccinated. Vaccines are free, regardless of health insurance or immigration status. That’s right, FREE. Vaccines for kids are located at your military MTF AND at more than 30,000 trusted and convenient locations. Need help finding vaccines near you?

  • Visit vaccines.gov
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX)
  • Call 1-800-232-0233

Did you know that many schools and health care providers are offering vaccines to make it easier for children to get vaccinated? Check with yours and your doctor to see if there is a convenient vaccine location near you.

We CAN do this, and we will.

Please consider vaccination for your family. If you have questions and concerns, please talk to your doctor and consult the research to get the facts and make the most informed decision about how to protect your family. Visit vaccines.gov to learn more today!

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Rachel Carpenter
Rachel has been an Air Force spouse for 17 years. Her husband's career had taken them to many assignments around the world, and she currently lives in Hawaii. She is a mother of four children; their ages range from fifteen to four years old, so her life is often exciting and challenging. She holds a BA in English and a MA in Management. When not busy with work or her family, she enjoys volunteering within the military community and has even been a Key Spouse at two stations. Rachel has always enjoyed writing and literature, and she is happy to find this community to combine these interests. She has been featured on We Are The Mighty, Her View From Home, AMSE, The Beautifull Project, Hand-in-Hand QC, and other publications - but The Military Mom Collective is her home. :)