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Hey teens: "It’s OK. I got vaccinated!"

        BY GLORIA HAMMER                                                          decrease fears related to getting sick, and
                                                                                  she wants to resume normalcy. But more
         The push to vaccinate the country is on.                                 broadly she says,” I know that every per-
         Gov. Kate Brown joined other states with                                 son that has immunity helps to collectively
        incentives  to encourage everyone who is                                  protect our society as a whole.”
        eligible to get the vaccine. All residents 18                              Mindy has started to think about how the
        and  over  who have  received  at  least  one                             vaccines will affect their summer plans.
        shot by June 27 will be entered in the “Take                               “We haven’t made too many travel plans
        Your Shot Oregon” Lottery. A special draw-                                as of yet, but I feel better and more at ease
        ing will be held for young people aged 12                                 with sending two of our three kids to over-
        to 17 who have had one dose. Winners will                                 night camp,” says Mindy. “I will likely sign
        be announced around the Fourth of July.                                   them up for day camps and sports camps,
        Top  prize  is  $1  million  with  36  $10,000                            which they have hugely missed.”
        prizes for those 18 and older. Oregonians                                  She also feels a huge sense of relief. “I feel
        12 to 17 can win one of five $100,000 Ore-                                less anxious and nervous going to work and
        gon College Savings Plan scholarships.                                    being out in public around people.”
         After  the  FDA and  CDC authorized  the                                  Ari is glad he got the shot.
        COVID-19  Pfizer  vaccine  for  those  as                                  “It’s worth doing it, it’s worth helping out
        young as 12, I asked families with children                               the  world,”  he  says.  “It  doesn’t  hurt  too
        ages 12 to 17 to share their reaction.                                    much. The buildup to getting the shot was
         My daughter, Jordana Levenick, and her                                   way worse than it actually was, and once
        family now live in Bend. I was visiting   Sadie  Levenick,  12,  shows  off  the  sticker   you get it, it’s like ‘Oh that wasn’t so bad.’ ”
        them when my granddaughter, Sadie, was   she  received  after  getting  the  Pfizer  vac-  Does the shot make  the  kids feel  more
        scheduled  to get her shot. Sadie, 12, a   cine, which is approved for ages 12 and up.  positive about the future?
        sixth-grader at Pacific Crest Middle School,                               “Yeah,”  says Noah. “After  everyone  is
        said her shot was scheduled before school  adds the shot itself “felt like getting hit  fully vaccinated, it will be harder to trans-
        started. “I was not thinking too much about  lightly with a hammer in my arm.” Enzo  mit the virus, we won’t have to wear masks.
        it, because I got up so early. It didn’t hurt.”  wants other young people to get a shot in  After you are fully vaccinated, it will make
         Why did she get vaccinated? “I got vacci-  the arm. “Get the vaccine, or you may not  it feel more normal, and I’m excited!”
        nated to keep myself safe and other people  be going to go back to school!” He is look-  Ari adds, “It makes me feel like I helped
        I’m around safe. Now I will feel more com-  ing forward to having fun.    and I did what was right. I contributed to
        fortable when I’m not wearing a mask.”  Sol was a bit anxious before his vaccine,  what the world needs to get back to life
         She is apprehensive about getting the  but says, “It did not hurt, and I did not get  before COVID. COVID is really annoying,
        second shot. “My mom didn’t feel  good  sick.” Sol believes that getting the vaccine  and life before COVID was way better.”
        after her second shot, I’ll be glad when it’s  “only has pros and really no cons.”  Noah says he was a bit nervous on his way
        over.” But seeing her mom not feel well for   Asked if he feels positive that he can get  to get the vaccine. “It was like going to my
        a couple of days also made her realize “I’d  back to normal life, he replies, “OMG yes!”  bar mitzvah, because I was really excited
        rather  not  risk  getting  COVID and  being   Stacey Lebenzon,  who works for BB  but very nervous. I was expecting it to hurt,
        sick for a couple of weeks or more.”  Camp, and her 14-year-old son, Leo, who  but  it  didn’t. Afterwards  I had  a  bit  of a
         The vaccine will also make her feel saf-  attends Portland Jewish Academy, both got  headache and was kind of tired.”
        er at camp. “I’ve been going to BB Camp  the shot.                         Ari describes the shot as similar to a “fly
        since I can remember. On June 18, I’ll be   “Not feeling comfortable  and not freely  or bug going on your arm and flying away.
        getting my second shot, safe and ready for  interacting with other people for over a year  My arm hurt for a little bit afterward, but it
        camp.”                               has been  profoundly  challenging,”  says  wasn’t too bad.”
         Portland pediatrician Dr. Bruce Birk, his  Stacey. “I was incredibly relieved when el-  Do they have any words of wisdom for
        wife, Jennifer, and two sons also discussed  igibility opened up for 12- to 15-year-olds  other kids or parents who might  be wor-
        getting  vaccinated.  Enzo,  15, attends  to get the vaccine.”            ried?
        Cleveland High, and Solomon, 12, attends   Stacey believes  with each person who   “If you are a little apprehensive, it’s been
        Hosford Middle School.               gets vaccinated, we are one step closer to  tested, and many people have gotten it
         First and foremost, the family wanted to  being able to let down our guard and truly  and nothing has happened to them,” says
        protect themselves  and their community  connect with other people again.  Noah. “If you are nervous, try reading valid
        from COVID. Now that they are all vac-  “The shot felt like any other shot, it hurt  sources.”
        cinated, they plan to socialize and eat out.  for a second,” says Leo. “It wasn’t that big   Ezra, 9, says, “I feel sad that I’m the only
        The boys plan to attend B’nai B’rith Camp,  of a deal. I was tired the next day but didn’t  one in my family that isn’t vaccinated. It
        and the family plans to visit extended fam-  feel sick.”                  seems cool to be vaccinated because then
        ily in other states.                  Leo thinks kids should get vaccinated.  you can take off your mask!”
         “I felt an amazing sense of relief and hope  “Get the vaccine, because it’s better than   Pfizer  and  Moderna  have  started  testing
        upon receiving the vaccine,” says Dr. Birk.  getting coronavirus.”        their  vaccines  in  children  under age  12.
        “My wife, Jennifer, was so inspired by the   Dr. Mark and Mindy Zeitzer  have three  Johnson & Johnson also has announced
        experience,  she volunteers  to  give  others  kids  who attend PJA  – Noah  in  eighth  plans to develop trials for children. In May,
        the COVID vaccine.”                  grade, Ari in sixth and Ezra in third.  Pfizer  announced  it  expects  to  seek  an
         Enzo says he was not anxious about the   A professor of nursing, Mindy wants  emergency use authorization for its vaccine
        shot. “I did not get sick after,” he says, but  to feel  protected against  COVID to help  for children ages 2 to 11 in September.
                                                                                              Jewish Review June 9, 2021   3
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