Mom of 13-Year-Old Who Almost Died of COVID Urges Hesitant Parents to Get Kids Vaccinated

A mother who nearly lost her unvaccinated 13-year-old son to COVID has urged other parents to have their children vaccinated.

Talia Iracheta, from Chicago, told ABC 7 that she and her children became sick with COVID just days ago. And while she and her other children recovered, 13-year-old Sebastian did not, and he was hospitalized.

Iracheta told the station: "I noticed he started coughing up blood and after two days of that, his breathing was getting progressively worse, so we decided to the emergency room."

She took her son to the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, where doctors realized that his condition was worsening quickly.

Cook County Health Family Medicine Chairman Dr. Mark Loafman told ABC 7: "It looked very much like he was going to end up on a ventilator, we were not sure he was going to make it."

Loafman continued by explaining that the 13-year-old hadn't been vaccinated. He said: "I know earlier in the season when he was eligible, they were in the clinic a couple [of] times we had the vaccine right there, there was some hesitancy, they were waiting."

ABC 7 reported that this hesitancy arose as Iracheta was concerned about missing time from work. She believed there would be other opportunities to get Sebastian vaccinated.

But she now expresses regret with regard to that delay. She said: "I would have missed a month of work to make sure this didn't happen if I could look into the future.

"When you are sitting there looking at your child and you don't know if they are going to live or not, you don't know if they are going to make it, it's a struggle to see."

The 13-year-old's condition has improved, and on Wednesday, he was discharged from Hospital. For Iracheta, the relief of having her son home for Christmas is tainted by concerns regarding how COVID will affect his long-term health.

Getting Children Vaccinated

Based on her experience, Iracheta is urging other parents to have their children vaccinated. She told ABC 7: "I don't think anybody should feel safe and think it's not going to make its way into your house."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone in the U.S. over five years old gets vaccinated against COVID.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccination is authorized for use with under 17-year-olds. Currently, neither the Moderna vaccine nor the Johson & Johnson/ Janssen vaccinations have been approved for use with under 18s, according to the CDC.

The CDC adds: "There are approximately 28 million children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old in the United States, and there have been nearly 2 million cases of COVID within this age group during the pandemic.

"COVID-19 can make children very sick and cause children to be hospitalized. In some situations, the complications from infection can lead to death."

Newsweek previously reported that, according to the CDC, as of December 15 at least 1,000 children in the U.S. have lost their lives to COVID since January 21, 2020

Sleeping Child in Hospital
A file photo of a sleeping child in a hospital. A mother from Chicago has warned other parents to vaccinate their children after she almost lost her son to COVID. spukkato/Getty