SingaporeMotherhood | Parenting

January 2022

“Will You Let Your Child 5-11 Years Get the Pfizer Vaccine?”

“No way!” declared my husband. “Do you know Pfizer is not even a vaccine by medical and legal definition? They do not prevent you from getting the infection. They’re experimental gene therapies! I don’t want our kids to be guinea pigs. They have natural immunity. They do not need to get the Pfizer vaccine at all!”

He was vehemently against it, mainly because the vaccine available for kids (Pfizer-BioNTech) supposedly uses a technology that is not proven.

He was so passionate, and I, much calmer.

Having taken the Moderna vaccines and Pfizer booster, I trust our government had done their due diligence before rolling it out to our younger population. Nonetheless, I decided to do some research on the various vaccines.

(See also: Covid-19 Vaccinations for Kids and Adults in Singapore)

Differences between the Covid-19 Vaccines

Vaccines help us develop immunity by imitating an infection. The first time a body encounters a germ, it can take several days to develop immunity to fight off germs. After the infection, the immune system remembers what it learned about how to protect the body against that disease. So what are the key differences between the two technologies?

Covid-19 Pfizer vaccines

Whole Virus Vaccines (Sinovac and Sinopharm)

This technology is well established and suitable for people with compromised immune systems. By introducing a weakened pathogen (or virus that causes Covid-19), it triggers an immune response. It uses inactivated pathogens, which cannot infect cells and replicate, and is relatively simple to manufacture. These are the main reasons many prefer it.

mRNA Vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna)

This vaccine consists of messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules made in a lab that codes for specific parts of the virus. Particularly, a spike-like structure on the Coronavirus surface called an S protein. The mRNA instructs immune cells to make the S protein, displaying them on cell surfaces. As our lymphocytes recognise the protein, the immune response makes antibodies. After delivering instructions, the mRNA immediately breaks down. It never enters the nucleus of the cell, where DNA is kept.

(See also: Top 10 Immune System-boosting Foods for your Child)

Tried and Tested vs Not

While research on mRNA technology has been around for decades, no existing approved vaccine used this technology till now. Hence my husband’s fear is completely understandable because human beings are uncomfortable with change. We prefer the familiar because our minds are wired to protect us and the best way we know how is to not deviate from the past. Since we’ve survived this long, why risk something untested and new, right?

time for change

“Not enough research shows that the Pfizer vaccine will not alter our DNA,” he insisted.

“True,” I conceded. “Neither of us are scientists and no matter how well-read, we’re only privy to what gets published.”

Then I continued, “Yet scientists make new discoveries all the time. So even if it alters our DNA, any breakthrough treatment would be great as an option, wouldn’t it?”

“And apparently,” I added, “the effectiveness of the Sinovac vaccine wanes faster. Will we then keep taking booster shot after booster shot?”

(See also: How to Prevent 3 Common Illnesses that Children often get in School)

Humankind vs Virus

New COVID-19 variants keep popping up, like Delta, and now Omicron. If a virus is smart enough to mutate to stay alive, I trust our human body is brilliant enough to develop the protection we need.

covid-19 coronavirus

Indeed, I believe that it is our very trust in a treatment that is the real miracle. Many case studies have shown how a sugar pill or distilled water heals a patient because they believe the fake treatment to be an actual cure. The placebo effect indicates that our bodies hold restorative powers and our subconscious minds are powerful enough to activate healing. In other words, it was never the pill, but the expectation that activated the biochemical pathways in the brain and body.

As a parent, I would rather train our children to build up their mindset to successfully replicate healing for themselves, for life. Wouldn’t that be a more powerful healing to activate? I believe if we anchor ourselves in the belief that we’re healthy, our minds have the ability to generate natural immunity for overall wellness.

In the case of the Covid-19 vaccinations, if we — and our children — believe that it works, then it will.

Even after discussing it, my husband sent me videos on ‘researchers’ claiming the Pfizer vaccine isn’t safe for kids. It did not matter that there is just as much research to show that the mRNA technology has a 91 per cent success rate for children 5-11 years or 100 per cent success rate for those 12-15 years.

(See also: How to Teach your Children about Fake News)

What Do the Kids Say?

Junia and her family

The topic came up again when we picked three of our girls from school one day. On the way home, they asked when they could get their vaccinations. I asked them why they wanted to get vaccinated.

The 11-year-old said, “So I can go anywhere.”

The 9-year-old said, “So my teachers will stop asking me! And most of my friends got theirs already.”

And the youngest said, “So I don’t have to do PE for two weeks!”

I laughed at the myriad of answers, while my husband was sure propaganda was successful.

Before he could go on with his conspiracy theories, I explained to the girls that their immunity could be boosted by a vaccination. I also added a short ‘science lesson’ on the power of belief to create self-fulfilling prophecies.

(See also: 8 Expert Strategies to Build your Child’s Self-esteem and give them Confidence in Life)

The Report Card Syndrome

Our beliefs are so powerful that it should really be a subject taught in school. A student who believes they’re bad in Maths unconsciously blocks that learning and gets poor results. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that I call the ‘report card syndrome’. We look at our grades and decide we’re not good, instead of using our intellect to create a different reality.

Pfizer Report Card

Beliefs can even dictate our quality of life by causing physical occurrences in our lives. It always seems like traffic lights turn green ‘for me’ whenever I drive, while my husband constantly sees red. Our subconscious minds are so powerful that we constantly alter reality according to the frequency of thoughts we send out. Like molecules constantly in motion, we can’t see with the naked eye the vibrations our thoughts emit.

Without leaping into quantum physics, I think that’s why I experience a lot more green lights, while my husband prefers taking the expressway even if it requires a detour. But beliefs are personal convictions, so there is no right or wrong. At the end of the day, we arrive at the same location, just via different routes.

Conversely, if you truly believe you can become good at Maths, you will make it happen. Just like how our youngest, David, was a miracle child because I refused to allow what the experts said to be my truth.

(See also: From Facing an Unwanted Pregnancy to Thriving as Mother of Five Kids!)

What Will You Believe?

Pfizer vaccine for the world

Back to vaccination. It really is a personal decision. While one person takes it out of fear of the virus, another might do it to travel freely. I take mine in good faith because I’m sure my intelligent body will do what it takes to serve me. Instead of worrying about unknown consequences, I’d rather spend time teaching my children how to build positive belief systems.

Zooming out to include the bigger picture — let’s say every individual came to a collective consensus. Could we sooner return to when we could eat out as a family, free of masks and travel restrictions? That’s a reality that most people would welcome. Now if only everyone believes we can make it happen…

Author of “The Naked Parent”, founder of Mum Space, and mother to five amazing children, Junia is a respected thought-leader in the parenting space. Recognised for empowering parents and kids with her 21st-century parenting model for over a decade, she now brings her ‘Modern Asian Mother’ expertise and experience to this exclusive SingaporeMotherhood column.

Featured image: Helena Lopes on Pexels

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“Will You Let Your Child 5-11 Years Get the Pfizer Vaccine?”