Children five years and over are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines, which has spurred the question of whether or not parents will vaccinate their children.

Megan Normandeau, communications consultant for Edmonton Public Schools, says, “Any vaccination, including the COVID-19 vaccination, are not mandatory for students in Alberta schools, as per the Education Act. Every student is entitled to an education under the Education Act and school divisions cannot deny students access to education based on vaccination status.”

Asking parents for comments on the Next Door neighbourhood app resulted in over 500 responses. To say the discussion heated past boiling point is a gross understatement.

CW of Rundle Heights says, “It seems to me that the pro-choice crowd is much more tolerant of others’ decisions.”  

A pro-choice individual, skipping that tolerance, told BA of Elmwood, “You’re contributing to genocide and child abuse because you vaccinated your kids.” This and numerous other vitriolic comments and drama erupted from both sides. 

Comments from both those choosing to vaccinate and against vaccinating their children were shot down or even called idiotic. Even these two parents who spoke for themselves. DG of Balwin says, “I just think getting kids vaccinated is the parents’ responsibility.” JE, also of Balwin, says, “I think protecting my children from harm is my responsibility.” 

JE, mom of five, says she is against the COVID-19 vaccine for fear of side effects being “hidden and lied about.” Her 11-year-old son was vaccinated so he could play football. She says she has vaccinated her children for all the regular childhood diseases, only questioning the COVID protocols. 

Quoting parents from both sides of view bothers JWBS of Alberta Avenue. “Presenting both sides does not consider facts. I’m 66, remember polio, still have my smallpox scar. We felt like a pincushion when every time we turned around, there were needles. Vaccines work. There is no other fact-based side.”

Sharing his concerns, JB of Belvedere says, “Many have stopped childhood vaccinations and childhood diseases are making a comeback. Childhood vaccines should be mandatory or no school or organized sports or summer camps.”

Grandparent TC of Delwood thinks parents should not yield to mandates, “I’m a grandparent and feel that vaccinating children is an authoritarian decision made without a scientific basis.”

Yet, AA from Spruce Avenue is happy with her choice for her family. “I received both my shots while pregnant, my booster while breastfeeding, and our five-year-old has had her first shot. We are just waiting for the timing for her second dose.”

Soon-to-be-grandparent JC of Cloverdale with two adult children both expecting says, “Our daughter has done reading and listening to podcasts/interviews about the whole issue. Both families have done their risk/benefits analysis and are each fully convinced that children are only nominally at risk of having COVID.”

An Elmwood Park parent, RJ, shares her nightmare of not vaccinating a child against influenza. “I have three boys, my oldest is 14 and already double vaxxed.” When her youngest was two, he caught influenza and another virus. The doctors kept him on life support for six weeks followed by six months in the hospital. “I didn’t have him vaccinated against influenza. Since then, I make sure everyone in my household is vaccinated.”

FS of Holyrood says, “For the unvaccinated, catching Omicron is the perfect scenario. A very mild cold and it gives you natural immunity to COVID.  Why risk an untested vaccine on children for something that poses no danger to them?”

The debate rages on. 

CW, ever hopeful, says, “Would be nice if we could all just get along regardless of opinions on the matter.”