Lourdes Eguiguren, M.D.

Dr. Lourdes Eguiguren explains why it’s important for every eligible person to get the COVID-19 vaccine, for themselves and for those who aren’t eligible yet.  

Dr. Eguiguren is a Pediatric Infectious Diseases Physician at Children’s Hospital and the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha  

How do you feel COVID-19 has affected the lives of children?
Many children have been seriously infected by COVID. They have been hospitalized and now it is even one of the main causes of mortality. But they have also been affected socially. They have to take virtual classes, adapt to a new way of studying, and to being away from their friends. They have also been affected emotionally. Unfortunately, many children have lost close relatives and people close to them, which has also been very tough.  

Why is it important that kids be vaccinated against COVID-19?
It is the safest and most effective way that we can prevent severe illness and hospitalization. It also reduces mortality in children with just two doses, and maybe a third dose of the vaccine, so children can feel safer that they are not going to be severely affected by this disease.  

How does vaccinating children against COVID-19 benefit you personally?
Personally, I benefit because I have two young children at home who are not yet eligible for the vaccine. They are less than 2 years old, and if all the children around them are vaccinated, it is a way for my children to be protected. I’m hoping that this pandemic will be over soon so that we can all go back to our normal lives and activities.  

How does vaccinating children against COVID-19 benefit you professionally?   
Professionally, as a pediatric infectious disease doctor, one of my main objectives is that children are no longer affected by this virus. I would like to see a decrease in cases of hospitalized children, a decrease in cases of children coming to the hospital for different symptoms, and a decrease in mortality. This is the best way to be able to prevent all the complications associated with COVID-19. 

How does vaccinating children against COVID-19 benefit the larger community?   
It’s a great help to the community because it is the main mechanism to stop this pandemic. It’s not only a decision about protecting our children against COVID-19, which is important, but this is also the way we can protect people in the community who can’t get the vaccine – for example, people who are immunosuppressed or people who, for medical reasons, cannot yet receive the vaccine. It’s a way to protect the rest. It is also very important to know that if the majority of people are vaccinated, little by little we can feel safe going back to our normal activities like schools, day care centers, and sports in a safe way. Therefore, it is very important for everyone to be vaccinated. 

How would you respond if someone asked you if their child should get the COVID-19 vaccine?
My answer is always, absolutely, they should get the vaccine. That’s what I’m hoping for my own children who still unfortunately can’t get the vaccine. But as soon as they can, I’m going to vaccinate my children. That’s what I’ve recommended to my nephews, to all the people around me and my patients. I really believe that this vaccine is safe and that it’s the best way to protect our children.