‘A step to returning to normal:’ Valley parent explains decision to vaccinate toddler

1 week 3 days 19 hours ago Tuesday, June 21 2022 Jun 21, 2022 June 21, 2022 8:56 PM June 21, 2022 in News - Local

Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine for infants started Tuesday at the Edinburg Activity Center.

Benjamin Bocanegra, a 22-month-old from McAllen, was the first in line for his first dose of the newly approved Pfizer vaccine for young kids.

“He actually does have an underlying condition and we want to make sure we take every precaution,” Jonathan Bocanegra said of his child. 

Benjamin’s parents said raising him during covid has been a challenge. He was born in the summer of 2020 at the height of the Valley’s spike in Covid cases and related deaths.

“The day he was born is the day my padrino passed away from Covid in the same hospital,” Jonathan said. “So we as a family have been strongly affected by the disease and any precautions we can take that are safe, we've decided to go ahead and do it."

One thousand doses of the vaccine, sourced from the Texas Department of State Health Services, arrived in Edinburg. More orders are expected to come after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the vaccine for kids as young as six months over the weekend.

Benjamin was at first unhappy with the shot, then a little stunned before running around just as he was when he walked in.

"This is kind of a step to returning to normal," Jonathan said. “We feel better about taking him to the park and letting him run around with a whole lot of kids he doesn't know, doing what kids do."

Staff will continue giving out doses of the vaccine Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Edinburg Activity Center, where no appointment is necessary.

"If you don't know, or if you have questions about the safety or the effectiveness or any possible reaction to the vaccine, talk to your pediatrician," DHR Health Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response Sherri Abendroth said.

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