CARY, N.C. — The Wake County Health Department started vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 against COVID-19. Some parents, including in the Latino community, are holding off over concerns about the vaccine, even though the CDC and FDA has deemed it safe.
Freddy Medina, a dad to an 8-year-old son, is trying to educate other Hispanic parents who may be hesitant to get their children vaccinated.
What You Need To Know
Some local pharmacies are accepting walk-ins for kids’ COVID-19 vaccine shot
Fear exists within the Hispanic community, including distrust of medical community
One Hispanic dad in our community is an advocate for getting kids vaccinated
Medina, a leader in the Puerto Rican community, has been an advocate for the vaccine since it first became available for adults. He has partnered with local doctors to host pop-up vaccine clinics throughout the state. His mission is personal because he knows the risks from COVID-19 are real. The fear really struck close to home when his younger brother became sick with COVID-19 and ended up in the hospital for a week.
“He got sick. He’s 24. And he works out,” Medina said. “No other illnesses. No preexisting conditions.”
His focus now is getting kids vaccinated. Last week, he held a virtual event with doctors who aimed to clear up any misconceptions about the vaccine.
The distrust within the Puerto Rican community dates back to the 1930s, when Puerto Ricans were used in experiments by a cancer researcher from the U.S. mainland.
“All of this historical PTSD, as I like to call it, I think plays a big role in the Puerto Rican community,” Medina said. “I think Latinos in general are just concerned this might be some hoax or government playing with our lives or our health.”
However, that isn’t stopping him from getting his son, Alfredo, vaccinated. He has been waiting for this day since the pandemic started.
Medina has endured many sleepless nights thinking about Alfredo’s health and safety, especially now that Alfredo is back to in-person learning at school.
“To me this is a very important day because I’m mitigating that risk to keep him safe,” Medina said. “And to keep those around him safe too.”
Medina, who lives in Raleigh, took Alfredo to a local pharmacy in Cary that was accepting walk-ins. Despite being a little nervous, Alfredo took his first COVID-19 shot without any fuss. He is scheduled to go back for his second low-dose shot in three weeks.
The Medina family hopes that by sharing their story it will motivate other Hispanic parents to get their kids vaccinated.