The organization recently ran a vaccine clinic in heavily Polish and Latino communities, where some have been hesitant to have their children vaccinated. MariCarmen Zavala brought her 8-year-old son Louis Perez with her.
“It’s very important to me to get the vaccine for him so that my son can do the activities that he loves to do,” she said. “My two sisters-in-law don’t want to vaccinate their children based on the wrong information they hear. So he will help protect those who are not.”
In Ely, Minnesota, two children of Michelle Greener, Sophie, 10, and Liv, 11, share a rare disease – Ehlers-Danlos syndrome – with her husband, and she has a 16-year-old whom she adopted when the mother of the girl, the family nanny, died in 2019. That child, Emma, is severely disabled and at very high risk of complications from Covid.
Mrs. Greener, 38, takes care of all three while her husband goes to his manufacturing job. First she was vaccinated and the outside world was largely hers alone. Then an opportunity for her husband: another concern. Next came Emma, who had emergency surgery during the pandemic. Mrs. Greener stayed with her in the Twin Cities and limited contact with her younger children, who were too young to be vaccinated at the time.
“The day they approved the vaccine for ages 12 and up is the day I drove two hours to Duluth,” said Ms. Greener, whose home is so far away that she spends nights staring at the Northern Lights. “I cried all the way in and cried all the way out.” A child had reacted badly to another vaccine in the past.
“That was very emotional, a little stressful because I didn’t know how my youngest daughter would handle it,” Ms. Greener said of Liv. “I’m eating and breathing medically, that’s all I’ve done – all I think about is how I’m going to keep these kids alive. Now we’ve done everything we can to keep Emma alive. Right now I’m just dependent on the rest of the world.”