The organization recently ran a vaccination clinic in the heavily Polish and Latin American communities where some were reluctant to vaccinate their children. MariCarmen Zavala brought her 8 year old son Louis Perez with her.
“It’s really important for me to get the vaccine for him so my son can do the activities he likes to do,” she said. “My two sisters-in-law don’t want their children vaccinated because of the misinformation they hear. So he will help protect those who are not. “
In Ely, Minnesota, two of Michelle Greener’s children, Sophie, 10 and Liv, 11, share a rare disease – Ehlers-Danlos syndrome – with her husband, and she has a 16-year-old boy whom she adopted when the girl’s mother, the family’s babysitter, died in 2019. This child, Emma, is severely disabled and at a very high risk of complications from Covid.
Ms. Greener, 38, takes care of all three while her husband goes to his production job. She was vaccinated first, and the outside world was largely hers alone. Then a shot for her husband: another worry. Next came Emma, who received emergency surgery during the pandemic. Ms. Greener stayed with her in the Twin Cities and had 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 over is the day I drove two hours to Duluth,” said Ms. Greener, whose house is so far away that she spends nights staring at the northern lights . “I’ve cried all the way and cried all the way.” One child had reacted badly to another vaccine in the past.
“It was very emotional, a bit stressful, not knowing how my younger daughter would handle it,” Ms. Greener said of Liv. “I eat and breathe medically, that’s all I’ve done – all I think about is how I’m going to keep these children alive. Now we’ve done everything to keep Emma alive. At the moment I’m only dependent on the rest of the world. “