By Sienna Beck / New York City
I was just a normal city kid in Manhattan, walking up and down streets, playing at parks, living in an apartment building, doing normal things. But in early 2020, a virus occurred, called coronavirus, or Covid-19. We had to wear masks over our mouths and noses. People had to go remote, which means either on a device, or asynchronous. My family rented a house in the Poconos for four months to keep us safe for a while. While we were there, a lot of things happened. I was in second grade and had many questions like “What is this?” “What caused this?” “What does it do?” As I passed second grade and summer arrived, we went home. I did third grade on my computer.
Finally, the Covid vaccination was approved for adults. What is a vaccine? A vaccine prevents something from getting really bad. Like the flu vaccine everybody gets once a year prevents the flu from getting too bad. So many adults got vaccinated. What about kids? That wasn’t fair!
Kids were held back from doing a lot of things like having indoor playdates. I couldn’t see my friends except over Zoom. And so as third grade passed by and I slowly switched schools from P.S. 84 to P.S. 87 for fourth grade, I became more and more anxious to know when the kid one was to come out. They said it was to come out “in late October,” but it never came. Where was it? Who knew? I wanted to know. Nobody had an answer.
On November 2nd, a Tuesday, after school, Mom announced some news with a huge smile on her face. “The kid vaccine came out!” she said. I was like, “What??!??!!? IT CAME OUT?” Everybody was grinning from ear to ear. Everybody couldn’t wait. Everybody but my middle sister Willa, who really dislikes shots. My youngest sister Olive and I made a deal with her and said that “Olive goes first, and Sienna could go second, so you can be last.” Willa was happy with that.
Every adult with kids hurried to get an appointment to get the shot. Lots of our friends were doing it at the American Museum of Natural History, which is only 10 blocks from our apartment, so we decided to give it a go.
It was Sunday morning. Daylight savings time had switched overnight, so we woke up at what had used to be 7:30 a.m. but was now 6:30 a.m. Silently we crept into the living room and drew pictures. When Mom woke up, we all had a little snack and continued to play. Soon though, Mom (and Dad, who had just woken up) called us to start getting ready. We were going to try again to get our vaccine shots (We had stopped by the museum on Saturday midday, but they said we had to come much earlier as walk-ins). So Willa, Olive and I got bundled up in our coats and hats and gloves, and we took off.
We arrived at the Natural History Museum at 8:35 a.m. for the 10 a.m. opening. We went down the ramp and joined the line of walk-ins. We learned shortly after that we were eighth in line. Mom let us watch videos on our iPads, so as soon as I got mine, I played a couple games. While we were playing, Mom went to get us egg sandwiches, which we ate while we waited. An hour of waiting later, a woman told the line we would be assigned times to come back to do it. We got 11 a.m., so we spent an hour playing nearby in the playroom at my grandmother’s building. This was special because her building hadn’t let us play in the playroom for the past year because of Covid!
When we got back, numbers 9, 10, and 11 were ahead of us. Number 10 got to go in first (who cared anyway?) but numbers 9 and 11 were generous and let us go ahead. We waited in a long line for fifteen minutes and then were hustled into a busy room filled with booths of other people getting their shots, too. We got one in the very back with a woman called Bello (pronounced: BEL-low). Another man started taking our information on his iPad. That took about fifteen minutes (again).
Olive was brave for the shots and volunteered to go first. I called second, and Willa was happy to be the last one. Olive scrunched up her face as the needle went through her arm (none of us cried, though), and then it was my turn. I tensed up my body and my mom literally busted my brain talking to me (it distracted me, for while she was blabbering I got the shot) but I did it. A minute later I wandered over to the room in the museum with the Big Whale, but just the entrance, so my mom could see me. We bumped into one of my friends, Charlotte, who had also just gotten her shot.
Willa, Olive and I then disappeared into the “waiting section.” A man led us to three seats overlooking the giant whale. There we opened our prizes (crayons and stickers) and occupied ourselves before we were able to leave. (My mom was scheduling our second shot for November 28th and also signing us up for our $100 gift card from NYC!)
On our way home, my left arm stopped hurting. My dad cheered for us as we broke into the playroom in our building. Our close friends Alisha, Michael, Ari, Sybil, and Max did too. “Yayy!” said Alisha. Soon, Olive and I complained that we were tired, so we completed our adventure by going upstairs and collapsing on a couch. I was tired, but glad that we got vaccinated.
I never felt a pain in my shoulder after the shot. Of course, it hurt when I got it and ached when we walked home, but other than that I was fine. Unlike the flu shot, it never made me feel sore. With the flu shot, I tossed and turned uncomfortably a lot. But I actually FORGOT the Covid shot was even there at all!
If you’re a kid reading this, I hope you get the vaccine!
Sienna Beck is a 9-year-old author who loves writing short stories. She goes to a camp called Writopia, and once entered a play contest and was selected to have her play professionally performed by trained actors. Sienna has two sisters, Willa and Olive, and they all go to P.S. 87 in New York City. Sienna likes animals, including pets and mostly dogs. She also wants to be THE PRESIDENT when she grows up.