CHARLOTTE – When adolescents ages 12-15 were cleared to receive the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine in mid-May, we decided to ask a bunch who got it why they made the move. So we sidled up to them at a Novant Health vaccine site, yellow legal pads in hand, asking them to jot down their thoughts.
We sort of blindsided this game group of adolescents (and their parents) at the Novant Health Medical Group – East Mecklenburg clinic, so they didn’t have a lot time to gather their thoughts in advance. And some went into school essay mode, playing it safe and writing down what they thought we might want to hear. But read between the lines and you’ll see pain over missing out on life’s little pleasures and big milestones, anxiety about getting sick, and managing the overwhelming boredom of lockdown.
We did save the best for last. Sara, 13, would most definitely take the task to heart, her mother assured us. And that, she did, furiously filling two-thirds of a page for several minutes and then carefully reading over her work before handing the pad back. Kudos to a young writer who already knows how to nail an ending.
You’ll find information about safety here. Without further ado…..
I got the COVID vaccine because my mom told me to. — Kate, 15.
When we asked about what was hardest about life with COVID-19 she said: One of the things I was looking forward to was my eighth-grade graduation and starting high school. Unfortunately, my first day of high school was online. It took a long time to make friends and enjoy high school because of this.
I got the vaccine because I wanted to be a contribution to overcoming this pandemic and I will be able to see extended family without being really scared. — Caroline, 15.
I’m going to camp so I wanted to get it so I can avoid quarantining … I want to get back to my normal life. — Oliver, 14
I got the COVID vaccine because … it builds herd immunity. The second is pretty obvious, I mean, no one would want the effects of COVID. I just feel it’s important for everyone to get the vaccine. — Jackson, 13.
Why did I get the vaccine? Because why not? What part am I looking forward to? Getting to go places and not as much boredom. Hardest part of COVID-19? All the boredom, masks and not being able to go places. — Ethan, 12.
I got the COVID vaccine to help everyone recover from the pandemic … I have had to attend many events virtually. While it has been an interesting experience, I hope to go back to normal when enough people get the vaccine. —Harshini
I’ve been virtual all year & I want to see my friends again without anxiety about getting COVID. — Mary, 13.
I got the vaccine to help stop the spread of COVID and so everything can go back to “normal.” After COVID I am looking forward to sleepaway camp. I didn’t get to go last year … I can’t wait to go on vacations and not be scared if people don’t wear their masks properly … (and) being able to go into restaurants without it being awkward when you take your mask off. At first, I was scared to get it and, trust me, I am TERRIFIED of needles (but) when I got the shot it was easy … I can’t wait for COVID to end. If you haven’t gotten the vaccine, do it, do your part in helping the world. We can end COVID together. You, me, and everyone. — Sara, 13