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Woman honors mother by getting children vaccinated against COVID-19

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Posted at 9:50 AM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 09:32:38-04

South Padre Island, Texas, holds a special place in Fiana Garza Tulip's heart.

It's where she has a chance to relax and remember her mother, who died of COVID-19 complications two years ago.

Garza Tulip has been an outspoken supporter of the COVID-19 vaccine. She spoke about getting vaccinated while she was pregnant.

“I’m excited to smile when he comes, I’m excited to feel real joy that he’s here and he’s breathing," Tulip said last year when she was eight-months pregnant.

She gave birth to her now seven-month-old son, Albie. He's the younger brother to her daughter, Lua, who is almost three years old.

Both of her children are now able to get the COVID vaccine. In June, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine for children as young as six months old.

Getting her kids vaccinated was important to Garza Tulip. In addition to losing her mother to the virus, she also lost her uncle.

For as much of a supporter of the vaccine as she has been, she too admits that she has felt the fatigue from a fog of misinformation and pandemic politics.

“Do I trust the government at this point because mask, no mask?" she said. "You’re just constantly being fed stories and, like, falsehoods and truths and where it stands."

As a parent, she said the decision about vaccinating her kids feels different.

Only around 30% percent of children between the ages of 5 and 11 have received the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“If you had an opportunity, a bad opportunity to see someone really sick in this age group with COVID or pass away, we’ve had a few die in our hospital from COVID and now that it’s becoming now somewhat preventable, that's a tragedy," says Dr. Reggie Washington, the chief medical officer at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver.

He says parents can trust the vaccine.

“It’s safe and it works. The side effects are very minimal and the protection is safe enough to keep those children, of those age groups, out of the hospital in most cases," Washington said.

Garza Tulip and her husband say, after speaking with their pediatrician and reading reputable medical research, both of their children will get the vaccine when they return home to New Jersey. First, they held a memorial for Garza Tulip's mother at South Padre Island, a place she loved.

"This decision is so close to their two-year anniversary that there is really something meaningful about it to give them this vaccine in my mom's honor," Garza Tulip said.