- Personal Stories
Science Doesn’t Lie: A Bereaved Parent’s Perspective on Flu & COVID-19 Vaccines
Jennifer Romero shares her story about her daughter’s flu death to encourage people to get vaccinated against both flu and COVID-19.
Our daughter, Madison, died from H1N1 influenza A on February 26, 2020. I know that vaccination offers the best possible protection against viruses that could kill or permanently change someone else’s life.
Madison was a healthy child that loved to go to school, play soccer, and was everyone’s friend. She overcame many challenges during her short life. Madison had apraxia, a motor speech disorder that made it hard for her to speak. She didn’t start talking until she was 3-years-old. She also had sensory processing disorder and attention deficit disorder. She was our little unicorn.
The week prior to Madison’s passing, other family members had been sick. If more people had been vaccinated against the flu, maybe Madison would have had a less severe infection. Even when vaccination rates are low like they were in 2020 (CDC reports 52.1% of all eligible people were vaccinated last season), the flu can still spread to people who are vaccinated.
I want people to know that science doesn’t lie. As we learn new things, it doesn’t mean science was wrong. For flu and COVID-19, vaccines are what the science indicates are the safest way to reduce serious illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths.
Madison’s father Brian, older Brother Jaden, and I jumped at the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine because we witnessed how quickly a virus can kill. When I hear other people say that flu or COVID-19 aren’t serious diseases, I think about how she got a fever on her birthday. I think about how much it ravaged her body and took her away from us in just a few days. She was so sick that she remained contagious even after her death.
I don’t want anyone else to die or experience the grief that comes with losing someone to a vaccine-preventable disease. That is why I believe everyone who is eligible should get a COVID-19 vaccine and that everyone six months and older should get an annual flu vaccine.
Vaccines save lives. It’s someone else’s Madison you are protecting