• Linh Tu

Special Needs Child and the Covid-19 Vaccine

Updated: Jun 7

For moms with special needs children, we are constantly redefining what our “NORMAL” is. Greetings of “how are you?” have been replaced with “which vaccine did you get?”


I had similar concerns about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine due to the unusually fast process in which it was developed. Despite following CDC guidelines, our household still had several scares when a couple of nurses in our inner circle caught COVID. In addition to every sneeze, cough, or sore throat; my anxiety level was always high due to the severe effects it could have on our daughter, Jaelin, due to her complex health needs. As soon as we were able to, my husband and I received a vaccine. The fear of catching the virus and infecting our daughter overcame our hesitations of vaccination. Our family was fully vaccinated by early February. We all received the Moderna vaccine and had similar side effects; little to no symptoms after the first shot with some soreness at the site of injection. The second dose shot came with stronger side effects that caused more discomfort the next day. But it was nothing bed rest couldn’t fix. It was worth it to see the inside of a restaurant again! As clinical studies continued and started showing promising results for children 12 to 15, Pfizer soon got FDA-approved emergency use. While we believe in the science and studies, there was no specific study done of children with acute medical requirements; such as ventilator-dependent, spinal cord injury, Downs syndrome, etc. All medical conditions that Jaelin had. I was faced with another decision: To vaccinate or not vaccinate?


I called our PCP; Jennifer Murray, NP; at Dell’s Children’s. She was attentive to a parent’s concern about the vaccine and recommended that our daughter should get it. She told me that individuals with Downs Syndrome have severe COVID symptoms, but there is not enough information available about other conditions. After Jennifer’s input, I was swayed towards vaccination. Furthermore, I also asked our pulmonologist, Dr. Kelly Smith, at Methodist Specialty Clinic. Dr. Smith also confirmed that there has been no official study for patients in our category, but he has patients close to our daughter’s demographics that did well with the vaccine. He also recommended vaccination. As of May 24, 2021, Jaelin received her 1st Pfizer vaccine with the promise of a Disney trip! This girl knows her priorities! We monitored her closely every hour and she showed no side effects.


Her second booster shot has been scheduled…Updates to come!