Meet the Maximizer
Dr. Jesse Barondeau talks about how the COVID-19 vaccine protects children and adults, and why vaccination is right for his kids, and yours.
Dr. Barondeau is an Adolescent Medicine Physician with Children’s Hospital and the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha
How do you feel COVID-19 has affected the lives of children?
The virus doesn’t cause severe illness in children as frequently as it does for the elderly, but there’s been kids who have been very badly affected in the short term. I know several kids who’ve had months of symptoms. And beyond physical health, it has affected school, social activities, family gatherings – every aspect of their lives has been impacted by this for the last two years.
Why is it important that kids be vaccinated against COVID-19?
For kids, just like everyone else, it helps prevent them from getting the severe illness that they might get otherwise. It also helps prevent them from spreading COVID to their grandparents or family members that may be more severely affected by it. The vaccine just makes all these things much safer.
How does vaccinating kids against COVID-19 benefit you personally?
I have kids of my own that I want to protect, and I want to stay safe. I want them vaccinated so they can feel more comfortable doing things in the community and going to school, doing sports, band, all those things.
How does kids being vaccinated against COVID-19 benefit you professionally?
Vaccinating children helps me in that my patients can feel more comfortable coming to see me, not just for COVID-19, but for any other illness – mental health, depression, anxiety, stomach pains, headaches, anything they want to come in for. I want to see people for their illnesses and issues, and we can’t do that when everybody is still spreading around COVID-19 and our hospitals are filled up. The vaccine is making it so much easier to get through this pandemic.
How does vaccinating kids against COVID-19 benefit the community?
Vaccinating our children for COVID-19 really helps all the social activities, whether it’s music, arts, basketball, all those things. I know people are doing them already, but there’s always that concern of, “Is there going to be an infection?” and vaccinations just make all that much easier. It basically gets us past the pandemic. Also, the secondary effects of mental health and depression and isolation. If kids get vaccinated, we can move past that.
How would you respond if someone asked you if their child should get the COVID-19 vaccine?
My answer is simple: they most certainly should. Like all our vaccines, it’s very safe. I think this gets misunderstood, because you hear media reports of some heart thing happening to young boys, and you hear the same story over and over. But really, this is so rare that will not happen to you any more than getting struck by lightning will happen to you. And the vaccine reduces so many community and personal problems that the pandemic has caused. So yes, you should get the vaccine for your child.
What advice to you have for parents who are experiencing “COVID fatigue?”
In my field of adolescent medicine, we take care of a lot of mental health issues. I know people are impatient with restrictions and things like mandates and masks. But the pandemic itself is what caused those problems. If we didn’t have these restrictions, there would be a worse pandemic. Restrictions would have to be more severe, and they would last longer. So, if we can follow these guidelines and get every eligible person vaccinated, we can get beyond the pandemic and the other secondary issues will go away.