Vaccine Voices: ‘COVID is unpredictable; its ugly and it’s everywhere. Your only job is to protect your kid as best you can.’

From the moment COVID-19 made the news, Michelle Geltner knew she had one just one job — to protect her son, Ezra, who has Down Syndrome, from getting it.

“I took that seriously,” said Michelle, who has several roommates. “The whole house catered around making sure Ezra, 8, didn’t get it. Everyone was so careful. Everyone in our world that can get vaccinated I have asked to get vaccinated. Even if they were anti-vax, I kept asking, ‘Please, just consider it.’”  

Michelle and Ezra

And all this time, it worked. Then, earlier this month, Ezra, who also has hypothyroidism and minor asthma, spent time at his dad’s house. After Ezra returned home, his dad, who is vaccinated, called Michelle to say he wasn’t feeling well. He tested positive. So did Ezra. Michelle’s test came back negative, though she later ran a temperature of 100 and lost her sense of smell.

“It was pretty stressful,” Michelle said. “The whole house shut down. COVID can do a lot of things. We have to be mindful of that.”

Fortunately, Ezra’s symptoms have been mild with a low fever and some loss of appetite. But his mom isn’t taking any chances. She knows firsthand the damage COVID can do. In just two months, she lost four aunts and uncles and over the course of the pandemic as many as 10 family members. Despite her breakthrough case, she believes wholeheartedly in the vaccine and plans for Ezra to be vaccinated as soon as it’s available for children.

“I would love to get him the vaccination,” she said. “I think the vaccine is the only reason I feel psychologically confident that I can lay right next to my kid and think I’m probably not going to die. I think parents really have to be an expert in our own kid. We can’t control everything, but we can ask for what we need and be an advocate for what our kid needs. COVID is unpredictable; it’s ugly and it’s everywhere. Your only job is to protect your kid as best you can.”