VENTURA, Calif. -- The COVID-19 vaccines are helping provide a layer of protection for many kids fighting cancer.
Sixteen-year-old Jacob Gibson has come a long way since he was diagnosed with Leukemia three years ago.
“Now I am in maintenance and I have chemo once a month,” said Gibson. “I am done with chemo in November.”
Fighting cancer is a challenge, but doing it during a pandemic brings added stress.
“You know we didn’t know what it was going to hold for cancer kids so that was more stressful,” said Heather Gibson, who is Jacob’s mother.
That worry was very real for Jacob who got COVID a year ago.
“I got decently sick,” said Gibson. “I lost all sense of smell and sense of taste and it was like I have a cold but more intense.”
Many families with kids in cancer treatment are asking for the community to help protect them by getting vaccinated.
“I think that it (the COVID-19 vaccine) gives us definitely more of a comfort in being able to slowly go back out again and get some normalcy,” said Heather Gibson.
The topic is very emotional for some. Elda Gemima Perez Juarez has a 6-year-old daughter who has lived with leukemia since she was just three.
“My daughter was extremely sick and she would tell me that she really wanted it to be all over and finally she started feeling better, and she is now cancer free, but it is really important right now in this moment for all of us to get vaccinated,” said Juarez, who was fighting back tears.
The Pediatric Diagnostic Center in Ventura teens are doing what they can to help protect themselves.
“My son Julio is a cancer patient and he was vaccinated on Saturday with Pfizer and as of today he’s doing really well,” said Trini Hernandez, who is the mother of Julio.
Sixteen-year-old Julio got his vaccine while going through chemo treatments. Almost two-thirds of people have at least one vaccine shot in Ventura County, but for the children fighting other diseases that's not enough.
“People getting vaccinated could make us feel more safe and comfortable because we will not be worried about getting something that could potentially be fatal to us,” said Jacob Gibson.