Covid-19 Vaccine

High School Teens Opt for Vaccines on Spring Break

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New Haven high schoolers are using their spring break to get vaccinated. One senior said it’s a chance to get just a little bit of normalcy before she graduates.

“I was kind of excited to get it,” said Leah Moore, a senior at James Hillhouse High School.

After spending half of senior year doing remote learning, she said getting the vaccine and being back in the school building are steps in the right direction.

“It’s like a nice setting to be in and it makes getting an education easier I think,” said Moore. “And I can pretty much always get help whenever I need it.”

Moore and her brother Gary are top ten national track and field athletes, and they were at the city’s vaccine clinic for high school students Thursday.

“This week we decided to kick off a youth campaign of sixteen years and over to ensure that our youth had access to vaccinations,” said New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond.

Hall of fame coach Jim Calhoun was also there to do what he does best: coach.

“We’ve got to understand that the teamwork it takes, whether it be a fellow student, fellow athlete or coworker, whatever it may be, this is important stuff,” said Calhoun.

The siblings got their vaccines side by side. They were two of nearly 200 students who got vaccinated this week.

“I asked them because I really wanted it to be their decision, and they were fine with it,” said track coach Michelle Moore. She and her husband are proud of their children, saying they’re blessed.

Leah has a full scholarship to the University of Kentucky. She’s glad to have the vaccine before she goes off to school.

“[Senior year] I was prepared to be able to be with my friends a lot, and, you know, do a lot of fun things, but instead I wasn’t able to really do that. So now that I’m getting the vaccine, I feel like I’m going to be able to do more of those things that I wanted to do before,” said Moore.

“I’m happy about being able to go into college and have the full college experience because I’m really excited to go," she continued.

Other districts like Milford and Ansonia are working on plans for their students to get vaccinated.

“I wanted to get my vaccine just because I already had all my other shots and I didn’t want to miss out on this one, so it just made sense,” said Akaysha Leon, a student at Classical Magnet School in Hartford.

She was at a vaccination site run by Trinity Health. She said she brought her dad so they could get vaccinated together. The high schooler also wants to get back to normal.

“And a majority of the reason why I got mine is because I knew my dad would get it with me," said Leon.

Hartford has scheduled a series of pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics over the next week.

The Moore siblings said social media has played a part in the hesitancy they’ve seen among some of their friends.

“They’re scared of what might happen or if there’s some secret agenda behind giving out the vaccine,” said Gary.

The pair is hopeful their experience can encourage other young people to go out and get vaccinated.

The 16 and 17 year olds both got the Pfizer vaccine. Right now, it’s the only one available to people under 18.

“Do your research and really look into things before you really settle on this one idea, especially when it’s something like this, something that’s going to make you safer,” said Leah.

With the end of the pandemic in sight, we’re all beginning to contemplate what it will be like to return to our normal lives. But it’s not going to be easy for everyone. For many people, social anxiety may keep them on the sidelines, even after the danger of the coronavirus has passed. NBCLX storyteller Eric Rodriguez explores life after the pandemic.
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