FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM DECEMBER 23, 2021 • THE QUEENS COURIER 21
Keeping our kids safe with vaccination
Christmas is here, and there is much for
most of us to do — gift s to buy and wrap,
cards to send and even a few more decorations
But for me, I feel Christmas is a time
to refl ect about the troubles in the world,
especially in our country, where hundreds
of thousands of people have died during
the COVID-19 pandemic and many more
have gotten sick from this disease.
Th e message of the season is, “peace on
Earth and goodwill toward men.”
Th is is where many of us refl ect on the
gentler times in our past.
It was 1957, during the Cold War, but
I didn’t much understand or care about
such things. I was 8 years old, living in a
corner house in Queens Village with my
mother, father and two blind boarders my
mother cared for.
We didn’t have much money, but always
had a good Christmas full of love, sharing
and plenty of music, which my mother
said was “tonic for the soul.”
A few evenings before Christmas, we
set out to buy our Christmas tree, but my
father’s car would not start. It was a crisp,
cold night and snow was on the ground
and still falling. My father had an idea so
my mother wouldn’t be disappointed.
We took my sled to a place where they
sold trees on Francis Lewis Boulevard,
which was about a half-mile away. When
we got there, my father picked out a beautiful
6-foot tree. We tied it on top of my
sled and guided it home to 213th Street.
We sang Christmas carols all the way
Back at home, my mother had a special
place in front of the fi replace for the
tree. Our job was done once it was settled
in the stand. From there, my mother took
over, decorating it with love and devotion
to every detail.
Kindness and love seemed to bounce
from house to house in those days, and
neighbors greeted one another with a
kind, “Merry Christmas.”
Carolers sang from house to house.
Churches were beaming with worshippers.
Christmas meant a lot back then,
and I just can’t help but wonder if that
Christmas spirit will ever return.
Th e picture-perfect Christmases of
our memories may have been laced with
imperfections, but I still think that they
were better than the frenzied days we have
now. I can’t help but hope that America
returns to family values and remembers
the true meaning of Christmas: Peace and
Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Bellerose
SHARING IN VICTORY
The four candidates that threw
their support behind Queens City
Councilwoman Adrienne Adams to
become the next Council Speaker —
including Councilwoman Diana Ayala,
Councilman Keith Powers, Councilman
Justin Brannan and Manhattan Borough
President and Councilwoman-elect Gale
Brewer — might have other motivations
in dropping out of the race.
Watch for the political quid pro quo
should Adams be elected and confi rmed
as the next speaker. All four will likely
share in the spoils of victory.
Don’t be surprised when Adams
appoints each to the position of either
Council majority leader or chairperson
of one of the more powerful Council
committees — possibilities include the
fi nance, land use, housing and buildings,
higher education, public safety, and oversight
and investigations committees.
Th ere are also employment opportunities
that could be available to friends
and supporters of each Council member.
Several hundred positions are available in
the speaker’s offi ce and various supplemental
staff assigned to Council members
along with the usual lulus for chairing one
of the 38 Council committees and funding
for future member items.
Everyone will get a piece of the pie at
Larry Penner, Great Neck
letters & comments
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BY DR. DAVE
As a father of a young
child and the city’s doctor,
it has been especially
meaningful for me to see so many brave
children roll up their sleeves to get vaccinated
against COVID-19. I have had
the privilege of being present when some
have gotten their fi rst dose. I remember
one young person had tragically lost their
mother to the COVID-19 pandemic. Th e
family felt relief and joy aft er waiting so
long for the comfort of knowing the child
Since the COVID-19 vaccine was authorized,
over 140,000 children ages 5-11
have received at least one dose in New
York City. We are proud of this progress,
but still too many of our youngest New
Yorkers remain unvaccinated. Right now,
it’s more urgent than ever, because infection
rates are highest among school-aged
children. Since the start of the pandemic,
school-aged children have accounted for
approximately 7% of all cases. In the last
30 days, 14% of all cases have been among
this age group.
It is critical for parents and caregivers
to understand that COVID-19 is a serious
childhood illness. It can result in hospitalizations,
ICU admissions, long-term
health issues and, in rare cases, death. No
children have died from the vaccine.
Understandably, many parents and
caregivers want to make sure it’s safe —
even those who are fully vaccinated themselves.
According to a new survey, about
a third of parents of children ages 5 to 11
say they want to wait and see how the vaccine
is working for others before getting
their child vaccinated. But our leading
pediatricians are strongly recommending
vaccination right now, precisely because it
helps keep our kids safe.
Some are concerned aft er hearing
about a risk of myocarditis, or mild heart
infl ammation. Th is is of course something
we take seriously. What we know
is that myocarditis is actually more likely
to occur as a result of COVID-19, not
vaccination. It also likely helps that the
dose used in 5- to 11-year-olds is a third
of the dose used for those 12 and up.
But benefi ts of vaccination go beyond
just protection from COVID-19.
Although, thankfully, the youngest New
Yorkers have largely avoided COVID’s
worst outcomes, they have all shared
in our collective trauma, and far too
many have experienced loss. With vaccination,
children can return to normal
life again. Th ey can catch up on
hugs, play dates, sleepovers, sports and
school activities. Th ey can more safely
gather with friends and family over
Another reason to get the shot now is
that starting this week, children 5 and
up will need to show proof of at least
one vaccination dose for indoor dining,
fi tness and entertainment activities and
many aft er school activities as well like
sports, band and choir.
I urge everyone to get your child vaccinated
as soon as possible. You can go
to the city’s vaccine fi nder to fi nd locations
in all fi ve boroughs, including city
sites, pharmacies and clinics. Th e Health
Department is working with over 1,500
pediatricians to distribute the vaccine.
Th e instinct parents and caregivers
have to protect children is a good one
— our fi rst priority is always to keep our
children safe. I want to be clear: To not
have your child vaccinated is taking a
serious risk. Th e vaccine will keep your
child and our communities safe.
Dr. Dave Chokshi is New York City’s