Teens and their parents offer mixed views on getting Covid-19 vaccine

‘Life can go back to normal once everyone gets it’: Excitement and caution among younger cohort

With the HSE portal having just opened for 12- to 15-year-olds to register for vaccination, there are mixed views among this age group and their parents on the best course of action. Photograph: iStock

With the HSE portal having just opened for 12- to 15-year-olds to register for vaccination, there are mixed views among this age group and their parents on the best course of action. Photograph: iStock

 

Fifteen-year-old Emma Cronin has been looking forward to getting her Covid-19 vaccine.

With the Health Service Executive (HSE) portal having just opened for 12- to 15-year-olds to register for vaccination, there are mixed views among this age group and their parents on the best course of action.

From Grenagh in Co Cork, Emma feels getting the vaccine is the right thing to do, for both herself and those around her. “I’m looking forward to feeling safer and feeling less anxious meeting up with people as well,” she said.

She feels it is important for others her age to get the vaccine while the opportunity is there in advance of their return to school in September.

Emma Cronin: ‘I’m looking forward to feeling safer and feeling less anxious meeting up with people as well’
Emma Cronin: ‘I’m looking forward to feeling safer and feeling less anxious meeting up with people as well’

During Covid-19 restrictions, she missed taking part in her favourite hobbies including playing camogie, Gaelic football and tennis. For her, receiving the vaccine means she can return to these activities.

Also looking forward to receiving her vaccine is 14-year-old Lisa Hegarty from Carrignavar in Cork. “Life can go back to normal once everyone gets it and people won’t be getting sick anymore,” she said.

As the youngest of three, seeing her family get vaccinated before her makes her feel more comfortable about getting the jab herself.

Her mother, Colette Hegarty, was happy to see the HSE portal open for her daughter’s age cohort, and thought it important for her to get it.

“If we all wanted to go for dinner, she would be the only one not allowed in which would make things quite awkward. But also, just to get them back to school now and normality,” she said.

Ms Hegarty, who works as a special needs assistant in her local national school, feels it is important children are vaccinated before they return to school.

Collette and Lisa Hegarty. Collette was happy to see the HSE portal open for her daughter’s age cohort
Collette and Lisa Hegarty. Collette was happy to see the HSE portal open for her daughter’s age cohort

“I think it is the only way it will work for them. They’re after missing so much now, two years of school. Hopefully they can just remain there now and get back on track again.”

She said: “It’s up to us as parents to try and give them the best. I would be very much for vaccines. I know some people aren’t and may be afraid of them, but I feel there would be fewer side effects than if they did get what the vaccine protects against.”

Shay Carolan (12) from Dundalk, Co Louth, confirmed he would get the vaccine, even though he was still “unsure about it”. His parents, Paul and Olivia, said that they would be “reluctant” to let their child be the first to get it.

They emphasised they are not “anti-vaccination by any means” but “there needs to be more communication from the Government” for this age bracket.

Opinion was divided among the Lyne family from Co Westmeath. Mother, Marion, said she doesn’t think her eldest daughter (15) will be choosing to receive a vaccine due to her fear of needles but her 13-year-old daughter “seems keen to get it”.

Miranda Wall from Virginia, Co Cavan. She wants her daughter, Alex, to get the vaccine. Alex (14) thinks ‘the vaccine is necessary for our lives to get close to normality again’.
Miranda Wall from Virginia, Co Cavan. She wants her daughter, Alex, to get the vaccine. Alex (14) thinks ‘the vaccine is necessary for our lives to get close to normality again’.

“We have our own concerns, concerns of the unknown,” she said, “but it is just a flu vaccine. It’s trying to weigh it all up.”

Ms Lyne said she would allow her children to receive the vaccine if they wished but voiced her concerns over the lack of information available for parents: “Talking to my friends and things like that, they all kind of feel the same: ‘Oh I’m not sure.’ Where is that uncertainty coming from only from lack of information.”

However, Ann Mannion from Mountbellew, Co Galway, is encouraging her daughter Maura (13) to get the jab as she believes it’s the only way to “battle Covid”. Maura says she is looking forward to the vaccination, just so things can “go back to normal”.

So too is Miranda Wall from Virginia, Co Cavan. She wants her daughter, Alex, to get the vaccine. Alex (14) thinks “the vaccine is necessary for our lives to get close to normality again”.