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Let’s Get All Youth 12+ Vaccinated
September 27, 2021

It is Time for Tae Kwon Do!

Let’s Get All Youth 12+ Vaccinated

When the pandemic started, I had to close my Tae Kwon Do studio, J. Lee Tae Kwon Do in Hermosa Beach, because it was not safe to have children and adults together practicing and sparring indoors, especially with rise of number of cases of the variant spreading throughout our community.

 Now, with youth aged 12 and older eligible for vaccination and nearly 58 percent of all eligible Californians fully vaccinated and 66 percent partially vaccinated, studio owners like me throughout the state are welcoming students back to classes. We feel hopeful that we are gathering again and I’m so happy to see all the kids. My Tae Kwon Do studio is just one part of the story of California getting back to normal.

 But we must not be complacent. With the highly transmissible Delta variant still circulating, we have to be careful, especially for our younger students who are not yet eligible for their COVID-19 vaccines. One of the best ways we can help them is by getting everyone who is eligible vaccinated and staying safe by following state and local masking guidelines.

 I am asking all parents whose kids are 12 and older to please get your children vaccinated. The vaccines have been thoroughly tested and are scientifically proven to be safe and effective. Most importantly, they are proven to protect against serious illness and hospitalization, something we are starting to see with more frequency among young people.

 Bottom line: I believe the vaccines truly represent our path to normalcy and enjoying all the activities we love.

 One of my 15-year-old Black Belt students, Alex, said it best: “The vaccines are safe. It doesn’t hurt. It would allow us to go back to normal classes and socialize with our friends again and train with everyone else.” And he was very eager to continue his passion in Tae Kwon Do.

 I know some of my students’ parents have heard misinformation about the vaccines. Some parents are still weighing what for them is a significant decision. To them, I simply say: Talk to your family doctor. Read up on the real facts from the Centers for Disease Control and even test your knowledge. Talk to your friends who have been vaccinated. Ask them about why they did it.

 I’m sure they will hear many answers that are just like mine: I did it for my family. I did it because vaccines are a critical part of stopping the pandemic. I did it so that my small business and all the other small businesses in my neighborhood and across the state can reopen and stay open.

 I also did it for your kids. I know how much they have sacrificed during the pandemic. From having to attend school online, to missing sleepovers and birthday parties, they had to give up so many activities and special occasions. I also know that being able to take part in sports and getting back together with friends is so important for their physical and mental health. I got vaccinated for them, too.

 The Delta variant may be strong, but California is stronger. Vaccine rates are slowly rising again and we need to keep that trend going. I truly believe that getting our adolescents vaccinated is the next step in ending the pandemic, and it also ensures that your kids can go back to all of the activities and friendships they miss so much. The more vaccinations that get into the arms of those eligible, the more we stop the spread of COVID-19 and the variants. Even better, as a parent, you can rest easy that your vaccinated child is protected against serious COVID-19 side effects.

 Getting your eligible children vaccinated is safe and easy, and it is free. All information is confidential. To find an appointment near you, visit MyTurn.ca.gov. If you don’t have access to the internet, call the state’s COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-422-4255 (833-4CA-4ALL), which offers interpreters for 250+ languages. You can also call your family doctor, local community health clinic or public health office for more information.


Master Jae Heon Lee is the owner of J. Lee Tae Kwon Do in Hermosa Beach, CA. He is the president of the California Tae Kwon Do United.

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