The COVID-19 Vaccine Gave Our Family a Dose of Hope

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by Jackie Babiarz |

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My family is overwhelmingly grateful for the COVID-19 vaccination. We can breathe a little more easily now that our daughter Cammy is protected. We are infinitely thankful for the dedication of the people in the scientific and medical fields.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely difficult on all families. Having a loved one with profound special needs and a fragile immune system has made this period of our lives exceedingly frightening.

For the past several years, symptoms of a simple cold would quickly turn into pneumonia and land Cammy in the hospital for days. So, we’ve kept her in a bubble for the past 14 months. Our extended family took extra precautions to protect Cammy, quarantining for two weeks before entering our house.

Our daughter has lost so much strength, endurance, and sparkle in her eyes because of lapses in therapies, school, and socialization.

But the staff at her school have gone above and beyond. Because of their concerns about their students, especially one who is immunocompromised, they have layered up with personal protective equipment and carried on. Cammy’s teachers, nurses, therapists, aides, and basically the entire school have been awe-inspiring. I deeply respect and admire every one of them.

As nonessential workers, my husband and I have not-so-patiently waited for our opportunity to get the vaccine. Our doctors needed us to present an official letter that qualified us as home healthcare providers in order to get it.

Jackie receives her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. (Photo by Jacqueline Babiarz)

At the end of January, a letter from the Illinois Department of Human Services began circulating among the Rett community. It allowed family members serving as caregivers to obtain a vaccine appointment. My doctor approved it.

I received my first shot at the beginning of February, and with it, I not only received a dose of the vaccine, but also a dose of hope. We were one step closer to taking Cammy out of this bubble.

Upon receiving confirmation of Cammy’s appointment for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine the first day it was open to 12-year-olds, I joyfully exclaimed, “We did it!” It was like we were players in a video game and we had won. We had kept her safe.

Even with the inoculation, we will continue the safe practices established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Using her communication device, Cammy says,”Hi bless you.” (Photo by Jacqueline Babiarz)

Upon entering the vaccination site, Cammy used her Tobii Dynavox eye gaze device to communicate, “Hi bless you.”

I smiled with pride. With a limited amount of words to choose from, she spoke from the heart. She nailed it. Cammy expressed her appreciation for this opportunity.

Cammy waits 15 minutes after receiving her Pfizer shot in case of an allergic reaction. (Photo by Jacqueline Babiarz)

This vaccine has given us hope. We will find our way back to our normal.


Note: Rett Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Rett Syndrome News, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Rett syndrome.


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