Columbus: We Can Do This!!


This content was paid for by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Columbus Mom is proud to support the effort to share facts about COVID-19 vaccines. For more information or to find vaccines near you, visit; text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233.

I am an optimistic person and prefer to focus on the positives instead of the negatives. But, COVID-19 has robbed me and many others of so many joyous moments that it is difficult to find the silver lining.

In February of 2020, my father was admitted to the hospital. Although he did not have COVID (as confirmed by numerous tests), COVID did impact his stay. Since the virus was so widespread, it meant that he wasn’t permitted visitors during his seven days in the hospital. It brings me to tears knowing he had to spend those scary moments without his loved ones nearby.

My dad had his first COVID vaccine, and while on a ventilator, he communicated in writing to the hospital staff his concern that he wouldn’t be out of the hospital in time to get his second dose. Although my dad didn’t die from COVID, sadly, his worry about missing his second dose of the vaccine became a reality because he didn’t make it out of the hospital alive.

Even though my mom had lost her husband of 51 years just days earlier, she made it a priority to go and get her second dose. I was proud of her determination, even during her time of grieving.

My dad’s last text message to me urged me to get my vaccine. So, when I was eligible, I proudly walked back on the campus of my Alma Mater, The Ohio State University, and into St. John’s Arena to receive my shot. Seeing the lines of people wrapped around the building waiting to do what they could to help the spread of COVID was something I will never forget.

COVID vaccineToday it is even easier to get a vaccine closer to home and without a long wait. If you have not gotten a vaccine for yourself or your children yet, below is some information provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Equipping yourself with this knowledge will help you make the best choice for your family.

Facts on COVID Vaccines

  • Millions of people have safely received COVID vaccines under the most rigorous safety monitoring in U.S. history.
  • Vaccines are free regardless of health insurance or immigration status.
  • A booster shot is an extra dose that helps keep up protection against severe illness and is more important than ever.

What Information Is Available for Children?

Since August, 1 in 5 new COVID cases have been in kids.

As of November 2021, children ages 5 and older are now eligible for the COVID vaccine.

  • Even though it’s rare for kids to get severely ill from COVID, it can happen – and it’s even more likely they could spread the virus to other people who are at greater risk.
  • COVID vaccines are the most closely monitored vaccines in U.S. history and are being monitored just as closely in children.
  • CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend all children 5 and older get a COVID vaccine as soon as possible.
  • COVID vaccines are given to children 5-11 in a smaller dose that has been specially tailored for younger children. Adolescents ages 12 and older receive the same dosage of the COVID vaccine as adults.

What are the Side Effects of the Vaccine?

  • Children who’ve gotten a COVID vaccine have the same temporary side effects as adults. They are signs that the vaccine is working and that your child’s body is building protection against the virus.
  • Common side effects include:
    • Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
    • Tiredness
    • Headache
    • Muscle pain
    • Chills
    • Fever
    • Nausea
  • The risks from COVID far outweigh any risks from the side effects of the vaccine.

What can you do?

  • Talk to a doctor if you have questions about the vaccine.
  • For more information or to find vaccines near you, visit, text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX), or call 1-800-232-0233.

We have been in this pandemic in 2020, 2021, and 2022. I am eagerly awaiting the time when COVID is a memory instead of the present. COVID vaccines provide an opportunity to return to a more normal lifestyle. Let’s get there Columbus!

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Amy Onifer
Amy is an "on the go momma" to two spunky and fun loving kids (ages 9 & 8). She came to Columbus to pursue a career in elementary education and decided this was home. She’s an avid traveler, yet can’t master the art of packing. Her philosophy is bring it all because you don’t know if you’re going to need it. If you ever decide to take a trip with her, don’t worry about bringing a camera because she’ll take enough photos of the experience that it will likely crash your hard drive. Before kids, you could find everything neatly organized and straight vacuum lines in her carpet, but these days she's not bothered with worrying about the small stuff. You can catch her belting out her favorite song, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and using her two left feet to bust a move with her family during their frequent impromptu dance parties. She loves living in such a family-friendly city!