Editor’s Note: First lady of the United States Jill Biden is a community college educator with more than 30 years of classroom teaching experience. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion on CNN.
When you become a parent, you look at your baby and feel a mix of overwhelming love deep in your bones, and absolute terror, knowing that this fragile life is depending on you. From that moment on, you see the world differently. Every step, every street corner, every bite of food is a danger that you never even noticed before. So, we buy baby gates and cover our electrical outlets. We wrestle them into car seats no matter how much they complain. We make them eat their vegetables and stuff them in winter coats and scarves until they can barely walk. We hold their hands to cross the street and teach them to always look both ways.
Then, after bedtime – when we’re exhausted from the day and sure that if we hear, “can I have a glass of water” one more time, we will descend into a permanent madness – we quietly close their bedroom door and feel a pang of gratitude. We know that those dinner complaints and bedtime negotiations mean that they are healthy and growing, and that everything is OK.
Parents, we do absolutely everything to protect our kids, and in this pandemic, you did. You figured out how to support their virtual learning while working your job. Some of you even left your job to help your kids. You found ways to create online playdates and birthday parties. You chose to get yourself vaccinated.
There were times when you probably felt like no matter what you did it wasn’t enough, but I want you to know: You carried your family through this. You’re doing an amazing job.
The President and I understand how difficult this pandemic has been for your family. We care about you and your children. Joe and his team have been working every day to give you what you need to keep your family safe.
That’s why I’m so excited that, now, you have a new way to do just that: a vaccine for children, ages 5 and up.
During my travels to over 30 states this year, so many of you have asked me when this was coming. Now, it’s here – not just another way to protect your kids against Covid-19, but the best way. It’s been thoroughly reviewed and rigorously tested. It’s safe. It’s free and it’s available for every eligible child in the country.
Find a nearby clinic by going to Vaccines.gov. Joe’s administration worked closely with pediatricians and pharmacists to make sure thousands of schools and more than 100 children’s hospitals can offer shots, so you’ll be able to find a convenient location no matter where you live.
Parenthood and worrying go hand-in-hand. It’s what we do. I can’t promise you that the dangers of the world will become any less frightening. Just wait until your kids start driving!
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With this vaccine, however, we can help take care of at least one of those worries. A big one.
From the day you held your sweet, fragile, little baby for the first time, you have made the choice, again and again, to keep your child safe. Getting your kids the Covid-19 vaccine is your choice, too. Make the decision to protect your children with the same vaccine that has already saved millions of lives.