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Sharing their own battle with COVID-19: Family encourages others to get their children vaccinated

Texas College is hosting a first dose clinic on May 22nd, 10:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. at 2404 N. Grande Ave.

TYLER, Texas — Many parents haven't decided if they want to let their children get the coronavirus vaccine, but for others, it's been a year-long wait that's finally arrived. 

Early in the pandemic, 6th grader Cayla Locke contracted COVID-19. She was taken to Dallas and remained in the hospital for nearly a week.

"I'm just so grateful that my baby walked out of the hospital because my story could be quite different," her mom, Crystal Locke, said. 

After seeing how sick her daughter got, Crystal hasn't hesitated to sign up her family for the vaccine.  

"If we can just get back to normal and she can get some normalcy in her life and just get back active and being with friends and things, that's the goal, but the only way for that to happen is for her to get vaccinated," Crystal said. 

"We want to make sure me and my brother are safe because my parents already got it so we just want to make sure we can avoid getting it again," Cayla added. 

Crystal says she understands that a lot of parents are hesitant right now to let their kids get the vaccine but she hopes their story can shine a light on what can happen when you aren't vaccinated. 

"You would rather your child be vaccinated than to see your child in the hospital like I saw mine," Crystal said. 

Tyler Councilwoman Shirley McKellar has heard their story and hopes more people will get vaccinated. She's part of the North East Texas Task Force. Their goal is to get more minority communities in East Texas vaccinated. 

"What we're trying to do is educate people in the black and brown communities in all communities, but in particular black and brown communities, because those are the people who actually may not be able to get off work and get out there," McKellar said. 

By connecting with churches and colleges, the task force is working to give everyone who would like the opportunity to get vaccinated, a chance to do so. 

"Our focus is maybe to pull the smaller congregations together, and then have them all come to a larger congregation so that we can not have so many of those small sites, but larger sites so that we can get more shots and arms in one location," McKellar said. 

Texas College is hosting a first dose clinic on May 22nd, 10:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. at 2404 N. Grande Ave. 

Credit: Texas College