Giving More Thought to Vaccinations

Joe MacDonald avatar

by Joe MacDonald |

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With all of the talk about COVID-19 vaccinations being right around the corner, I cannot help but feel like I can finally breathe. Hopefully, at this time next year the world will look back on the year past and proclaim, “We are free at last!”

Life may return to normal, and Christmas shopping will not be limited to our computers. The stores will be open, and we may experience gratitude for new chances to reclaim the lives that allow us to move in a world not subject to a pandemic.

As much as the excitement builds for a cure, those of us in the hemophilia world must take precautions when it comes to shots given directly into the muscle. In my youngest son’s world, we provide immunizations by subcutaneous injection and not intramuscular injection, which may trigger a deep-tissue bleed.

A shot administered deeper into my boy’s arm increases the chance that he might have a bleed into the muscle tissue near the chosen place for the injection. This approach is a concern that is unique to the bleeding disorders community. We fear the medical consequences of the vaccination.

I believe immunizations are critical to protecting our children from diseases. We provide clotting medication to my son before he receives an injection, and put ice on the pierced area to help with swelling. We place a cold compress on the site for about 15 minutes and continue to monitor the shot area for possible reactions to the medication.

Many people diagnosed with hemophilia are not necessarily worried about the injection itself, but complications may happen with the immunization’s administration. For most of us, it is still right to let our children take the shot. The doors of freedom that one little needle opens allow all of us to return to normal.

Socializing is necessary for our children to find their place in the world. Our adherence to medical procedures recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps us safe and secure. Those of us in the bleeding disorders community must remain diligent and watch our children.

Finally, this is not a one-size-fits-all proposal. There are people in the community who feel that the risk is too significant now. I completely understand the hesitancy that comes from a place of judgment and hurt. My suggestion is to make a decision based on medicine and science and not on opinion. Talk to a local hemophilia treatment center for guidance on how to prepare for a vaccination. We have a highly skilled and brilliant medical team that helps us with decisions regarding our loved ones’ care.

Next year promises to be a year of redemption and rediscovery. The world will open its arms again, and camp and travel opportunities can offer in-person rather than virtual gatherings. Hope looms large as we welcome in 2021. Hopefully, we will laugh louder, dream bigger, and live bolder. Wisdom guided us to new ways of expressing community, and prosperity for all will be the rule, not the exception.

Here is wishing you a better 2021!


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


Amy avatar


This article was helpful.
The site would not allow me to rate it 4 stars.

Joe MacDonald avatar

Joe MacDonald

Thank you for your kind words, Amy. We in the bleeding disorders community must go to extra lengths to ensure a safe experience when vaccinating our loved ones.

Reply avatar

Thank you for your wonderful and deep article. I enjoyed reading it.

Joe MacDonald avatar

Joe MacDonald

Thank you for your kind words. Those in the bleeding disorders community must think through things like shots deep into muscles. It is the little things that we must think through.

esolutionCenter avatar


Thank you for your article. I enjoyed a lot reading it.


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