Make-A-Wish’s recent decision regarding how to begin to lift some restrictions for wishes involving air travel and large gatherings was made to protect the health of children with critical illnesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision has generated misinformation and falsehoods on social media and in some media outlets. Here are the facts:
Make-A-Wish has not, does not and will not deny wishes to children who are not vaccinated. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Make-A-Wish has safely granted over 6,500 wishes to children and families – regardless of vaccination status. Make-A-Wish will continue to grant wishes to children who are not vaccinated.
It is important to note that Make-A-Wish serves children with critical illnesses. Children do not need to have an end-of-life diagnosis to be eligible for a wish. In fact, most children we serve are able to manage, and even overcome, their illnesses and view the wish as an important part of the healing process. Spreading misinformation around the types of children who are eligible for a wish is harmful and hurtful to wish children and families.
The vaccination policy does not apply to any child who has received an end-of-life prognosis.
Make-A-Wish will not require anyone to get vaccinated to get a wish. We respect everyone’s freedom of choice. We understand that there are many families whose children aren’t eligible for the vaccine yet, and we also know that there are families who are choosing not to get the vaccine.
There are many other wish options for children who do not currently meet the requirements for air travel and events involving large gatherings. The list of wish possibilities is as expansive as a creative child’s imagination, and it includes road trips to national parks, spending time with celebrities, outdoor playhouses, shopping sprees, staycations, wishes for pets, computers, and room redecorations.
Our decision to lift restrictions on wishes involving air travel and large gatherings for children and families who are vaccinated is the first step of our phased reemergence plan and is based on advice from pediatricians and other medical professionals on our National Medical Advisory Council, as well as guidance from public health organizations like the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics. We look forward to the day when we can lift all pandemic-related restrictions.
More information on our policy is available on our website.