Primavera: The COVID-19 vaccines have given me the best Mother’s Day gift possible

Primavera: The COVID-19 vaccines have given me the best
Mother’s Day gift possible 1

This year, more than any other year, I will cherish spending time with my children and grandchildren on Mother’s Day. The lifesaving vaccine is providing us the opportunity to be together.

Three decades ago, I received my first cancer diagnosis and was told that I only had five more years to hold my daughters in my arms. I was a single mother, doing the best I could to keep the promise to my two sweet little girls that I would always show up for them as they grew up to love children of their own. Although my marriage had ended and my last paycheck had been cashed, I was committed to doing everything in my power to ensure that my daughters’ futures were protected. That they would have their mother present to take care of them.

Because of my previous cancer diagnoses and age, I’m in the high-risk category. Despite my vulnerability, I feared most for the lives of my daughters and the newest additions to our family born last summer, my daughter’s beautiful twins. On the heels of a year marked by great tragedy, every day their grandma gets to hold these two miracles is a blessing. The ability to extend my unconditional love and care for them is what I’ve won in my race against time.

As a four-time cancer survivor, I know that being able to access the right care at the right time is a matter of life and death. That’s why I fight for equal access to affordable, life-saving health care for all. I fight for health care for my two daughters, whom I was so fortunate to see grow into the incredible women they are today; for my three grandchildren, and for the over six million Coloradans I proudly serve as lieutenant governor and the director of the Office of Saving People Money on Health Care. This mission has never been more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I know what mothers and grandmothers across the state are going through. We put on our masks, wash our hands, and make the tough decision not to see the ones we love most in this world. I have an extremely tight-knit family. The distance meant less laughter and more meals eaten alone. It pained me not to see my daughters, friends, and other family members for weeks that stretched into months. But this was also a time for resilience. I’ve seen small hands pressed up to thick glass outside of long-term care facilities, so grandma and grandpa can still see their grandkids’ smiles. Those who did not consider themselves “computer people” masterfully organized Zoom birthday parties, baby showers, and holiday dinners. We adapted because it was the right thing to do.

Now, as we work to safely reopen our economy, and simply hug our loved ones again without spreading or being exposed to a deadly virus, we have three safe, reliable, and free vaccines leading the way to a long-overdue reunion this Mother’s Day.

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Receiving the vaccine along with both of my daughters eliminated the need for those tough decisions in an already challenging time. Every Coloradan over the age of 16 can now choose to become fully immunized to fill their lives with the people they love again.

This year, it’s our children’s turn to keep us safe. This groundbreaking vaccine is a shot at hope for a more normal Mother’s Day than the last. The sooner we can get shots into arms, the more lives we can save, and the more time we have to be with our families.

No mother should be denied the opportunity to be with their children. We will see the end of this pandemic more quickly with the sweetest of reunions promised when we get the protection that vaccines offer.

I encourage all Coloradans who have not yet been vaccinated to visit COCOVIDVACCINE.ORG or call 1-877-CO VAX CO (268-2926) to sign up with providers near you or walk up to one of our six Community Vaccination Sites, so you can give the gift of health.

To the mothers who will receive e-cards and virtual greetings from their kids, who are spending yet another year apart from them, I want to remind you that this time too shall pass. Hold hope close to your heart. Trust that they will still be there for you, as you were for them.

Dianne Primavera is the lieutenant governor of Colorado.

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