Rutherford County parent shares child COVID vaccination experience as thousands of children roll up their sleeves in Tennessee


RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Thousands of children in Tennessee have gotten the vaccine for the youngest available age group so far. Parents who are choosing to get their children vaccinated said they are hoping this helps their own kids and the communities they live in.

“Thankfully, we’re a very science-based family and so we not only taught our children what we needed to do but why,” said Rutherford County parent Ryan McKee who’s also a pediatric in-home healthcare provider working with immunocompromised children and families. “Our kids have been taking it very seriously from the beginning. You know, they fully understand why we wear masks and why we social distance, we don’t just tell them that we should do it, we explain to them the science behind it.”

According to the state health department, almost 26,740 people have been vaccinated in the 5-to-11 age group in Tennessee, representing about 0.7% of everyone who’s been vaccinated in the state. For the 12-to-15-year-old age group, the state health department reports 135,102 people have been vaccinated.

“My hope is that those of us who can get the vaccine — because I do understand that there are certain people that it is a medical risk for them — will do that to protect those people,” said McKee. “I personally know several people in several families who wish that they could get the vaccine, but they can’t, for medical reasons and their hope is that now more children are getting it because children, while we said are fairly resilient, they actually cause a lot of transmission within the community.”

As soon as the vaccine was approved for the youngest age group, Murfreesboro Medical Clinic Pediatrics had more than 700 sign up to get appointments for children. The Metro Nashville Public Health Department reported that their vaccine clinics with the school district have shown strong responses so far.

“I know there are a lot of kids out there who are nervous about getting the vaccine, just because kids, in general, are kind of afraid of shots. But then I also know there are a lot of parents who are concerned because we want to do everything we can to protect our children,” McKee said.

He wanted to share what their experience was like especially after getting both doses of the Pfizer vaccine for his eight-year-old already by participating in a trial.

“He was a little bit anxious, you know, a little bit nervous at first, but the doctors there were very good and reassured him and he was very comfortable,” said McKee. “Thankfully, when he got his shot, he said, he barely felt it at all (The first one) and then when he got a second dose, he said he didn’t feel that one at all, he didn’t even know that they had given it to him. And so he was very excited about that fact that he was done.”

McKee explained his son also didn’t have any side effects.

“He didn’t even have a sore arm. I know, when I got mine, my arm was sore for a day or two. He didn’t have that, he didn’t have a headache, or he wasn’t tired or anything, even with his second dose, which a lot of times the second dose is more likely to have a stronger immune response. And so yeah, he thankfully didn’t have any kind of reaction to it and it was just another day for him,” McKee recalled.

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