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Namine giving two thumbs up after getting her first vaccine dose

Namine's COVID-19 decision

Namine Olivia Eiche was born on July 15, 2008 with a double-inlet left ventricle heart defect; Pierre Robin sequence, a condition that resulted in a regressed jaw and a partial (U-shaped) cleft palate; caudal regression syndrome (also known as sacral agenesis), which damages the growth of the tailbone and legs, also giving her clubfoot; and scoliosis.

Since she was born, Namine's family has been chronicling her life — all the highs and lows, the medical procedures and milestones — in this blog. These entries below about her family's decision to get her vaccinated for COVID-19 have been reposted with permission from Namine's family.

Namine's first COVID-19 vaccine

July 23, 2021

Namine giving two thumbs up after getting her first vaccine doseOur decision to let Namine get the COVID-19 vaccination was not arrived at lightly. Since it was approved for ages 12 and up, we have wanted her to get the vaccine. Reported heart-related side effects concerned us, however. The last thing we wanted was to end up back in the hospital — especially now that we live farther away from Children’s Wisconsin.

Namine’s cardiologist understood our concern and felt that the benefits outweighed the risks. At her last heart checkup, he gave us his approval for Namine to get the vaccine. He explained that as long as she was in good health prior to the vaccine, the side effects should be no worse than any physio-typical child.

The vaccination appointment itself was no different from any of Namine’s many bloodwork appointments. Needles and immediate pain do not bother her, not since she decided she would fear them no longer. (Hers is a willpower I wish I possessed!) Her only apprehension was the possibility of a reaction to the vaccine. For that, we will have to wait and see.

Prior to leaving for the appointment, Namine brought out a Band-Aid from the first-aid kit. “I need this for after getting my shot,” she declared.

I said, “You know they have Band-Aids at the hospital, right?” I looked at the size of it. “And smaller, considering how your skin reacts to adhesive.”

“Yes, but I want to bring my own.” She held it out for me to see. “And they don’t have Psyduck Band-Aids.”

Well, I couldn’t argue with that. And she did bring it with her, because when she and Jessica arrived back home, I could plainly see that she was proudly sporting that Psyduck bandage.

Namine also came home with a new shirt. That’s right, she not only got a sticker (as Jessica and I did) but also a new t-shirt. We didn’t get a shirt. What the heck, man?

In seriousness, though, the shirt came with a Sharpie and a space to write the reason for getting the vaccine. After giving it some thought, Namine decided that the reason most important to her was for the safety of her family.

Namine's second COVID-19 vaccine

August 18, 2021

Namine posing in her hashtag what's my why t-shirt. Written in the blank space is my family's safety.Last month, Namine got her first COVID-19 vaccination. Since Jessica and I had already gotten ours — and got sick in the short term from them — we had warned her that she too might get sick shortly after her first shot. As it turned out, she never did. The worst she suffered was a sore arm, and even that didn’t last long.

Namine was not so fortunate the second time around. She felt fine during the day — fine enough to attend the art camp that she started earlier this week — but she started to feel its effects that evening. By the next morning, she was not feeling well at all so we kept her home for a day of rest and chicken soup. By the end of the day she was feeling better, so she’s planning on going back to art camp.