Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside continued combating the pandemic by administering the first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to 5- to 11-year-olds in front of Long Beach City Hall last Wednesday.
MSSN vaccinators arrived in the Vaxmobile in the early afternoon to administer 10 vaccines.
“I think that children, once they get vaccinated, can talk to their friends and tell them they got it and that it wasn’t that bad,” said Dr. Twana Jackson, a MSSN pediatric hospitalist. Jackson assured parents that the most concerning side effect, heart inflammation, is extremely rare and has not required hospitalizations.
Annabelle Torres, 7, of Island Park, was the first of the children to be vaccinated. “I was very nervous, but since I came here with my brother, I felt brave,” Torres said. Her brother Christian, 10, sat next to her while receiving his vaccine. Their mother, Christina, said that after Annabelle and Christian get their second doses, the whole family will be vaccinated.
“We are excited to do our part for the community,” Torres said. “I’m excited for them to be able to set the example that this is something safe and something that maybe more parents will feel comfortable with, so that we can resume normal life and visit family from out of state.”
Noelle Blount’s boys — Mason, 8, Jaxon, 7, and Kameron, 5 — sat in chairs six feet apart as they were vaccinated. The Freeport residents appeared excited to receive the vaccine, especially Noelle. “We’ve been waiting for approval and for this day,” she said, “and I feel like this was a researched, educated decision to keep them healthy and do our part to find closure for this pandemic. It’s the first step in moving forward from this.”
“It feels like a weight’s being lifted off my shoulders,” Marisa Torreblanca, of Long Beach, said. Her sons, Wade, 9, and Kellan, 7, were also among the group vaccinated. “I’m excited for my kids to have play dates again, to be able to take their masks off when they play sports and to just feel a little freer.” Torreblanca said she leapt at the opportunity to have her children vaccinated as soon as the federal Food and Drug Administration gave its approval.
None of the 10 children vaccinated shed tears as they took their jabs, and all received lollipops for their bravery. According to MSSN officials, trips to the Freeport and Baldwin school districts, as well as to the Old Village Hall in Island Park are in the works to continue to vaccinate the youth population and return children to a normal school experience.