London, Ont. clinic helps teen with allergies get COVID-19 vaccine
After missing out on so much because of COVID-19, 17-year-old Joel McLaughlin of Corunna, Ont. is now breathing a sigh of relief.
Sidelined during the pandemic, the teen, who has severe asthma and numerous food and environmental allergies, says being able to get the vaccine now gives him more freedom.
Joel’s mother Carrie McLaughlin says his struggles started early in life.
“When he got sick, he got sick,” says Carrie. “Joel was quite sick when he was born and then he had breathing issues, he had an air pocket hole in his lung.”
So when the pandemic hit, the McLaughlin family tried to safeguard their oldest son, and Joel too was worried.
“I was very concerned with the rough path I’ve had with the previous roads,” says Joel. “I was just concerned not knowing what would happen.”
Now the McLaughlins are grateful to Dr. Harold Kim, an allergist, and the staff at St. Joseph’s Health Care’s Allergy Clinic. After assessing Joel, he received two Moderna vaccine shots.
“For the individual patient getting vaccinated is liberating,” says Kim. “For society, the more of us that become vaccinated the safer it is for all of society and (Joel) was so keen to get the vaccine.”
St. Joseph’s is among eight hospitals in Ontario with a special allergy clinic to help patients with allergies get vaccinated.
Kim adds, “This vaccine is very very safe. The risk of allergic reaction is very small.”
Even though he is now fully vaccinated, Joel says he still isn’t going to take too many risks.
“My mindset is that we’re still going to take precautions just to stay safe and I trust in the vaccine that if for some reason I do come down with (COVID-19) that I will be fine.”