Dr. Mark Goedecker and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Rein, are both family physicians and parents of two sons, Jack and Ben. As their sons have grown, Goedecker, WellSpan vice president and chief medical officer of primary care, and his wife, who is in private practice in Hanover, often have shared stories of how they work to keep patients healthy. “Then COVID-19 hit,” Goedecker said, “and the stories changed. Our patients of many years were getting sick and dying of a disease that we had no way to stop.”
When the COVID-19 vaccine became available, the couple saw it was a way out of the pandemic and a weapon they could use to help their patients. They shared stories of that with their sons as well. “The boys could hear the excitement in our voices.”
The boys then watched their parents and their grandparents get the vaccine, and saw it was safe and allowed the family to start to resume normal activities. When the vaccine was approved for use in kids ages 12 to 15, the boys asked, without hesitation, when they could get vaccinated.
“They needed little encouragement and understood that COVID-19 is a bad disease,” Goedecker said.
“I talk with many parents who are trying to decide if they should vaccinate their children. While COVID-19 can be mild in children, it can cause severe illness and even death,” he said. “The vaccine provides the same or better level of protection to children than adults. Vaccinating children also decreases the chance that they will spread this horrible virus to someone they love.”
Why did the Goedecker brothers decide to get vaccinated? We asked them. Here are their responses, in their own words.
Jack Goedecker: 15, sophomore at Delone Catholic High School.
Ben Goedecker: 12, eighth grader at St. Joseph School.
Why I chose to get the vaccine:
Jack: “I got the vaccine because I do not want to risk getting COVID-19 or giving it to someone else.”
Ben: “I chose to get the vaccine to be able to have a normal life again and to hang out with friends and family safely without a mask.”
What am I looking forward to:
Jack: “I am looking forward to not having to wear a mask in some places when I am fully vaccinated.”
Ben: “I am looking forward to hanging out with my friends more when I am fully vaccinated.”
What I would say to someone who has not yet gotten vaccinated:
Jack: “There is no reason not to get the vaccine.”
Ben: “You should get the vaccine so you can be safe from COVID-19 and go back to your normal life.”
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