14-year-old Greece student gets her COVID vaccine and says ‘I think I’ll feel a lot safer’

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Every school district News10NBC contacted in the area Friday said they’re working on their re-opening plans.

Superintendents learned Wednesday night the New York State Health Department will not offer rules or guidance for schools. Schools are using the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance.

Only half of the vaccine-eligible children are vaccinated and in Wayne County, one out of five of their active COVID-19 cases are children. So News10NBC went to find teenagers with their parents getting their shots Friday.

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Gona Abdullah is 14 years old and she’s going to be in 9th grade at Greece Olympia.

Friday, she got her first shot at the Dome Arena in Henrietta.

Abdullah: "I felt really nervous. I was like really scared. But then she did it and I was like okay – it wasn’t that bad."

Brean: "Are you nervous about going back to school?"

Abdullah: "Uh, yes."

Brean: "Why? Because of this Delta variant?"

Abdullah: "Yes. But I think since I got the vaccine I’m not that nervous anymore."

Brean: "But you’re probably still going to have to wear a mask. You okay with that?"

Abdullah: "Yeah, sure."

Children 12 and up are eligible for a shot.

Dr. Nancy Bennett is with the Finger Lakes Vaccination Hub.

Brean: "It looks about 50% of students 12 to 18 are vaccinated."

Dr. Bennett: "Around that, yeah."

Brean: "How do you get it to 80% or 100%. I mean if they haven’t had it now what makes you think they’re going to get it between now and the first day of school?"

Dr. Bennett: "I just keep hoping and we keep encouraging parents and their children both to learn everything they can about the vaccine and think about getting the vaccine before they go back to school."

Back at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, I met Ann Cruz and her 12-year-old daughter, Indiana.

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Ann: "We just think it’s the safest thing for us to go and for others around us."

Indiana got her second shot Friday.

Brean: "50% of children 12 to 18 are still not vaccinated. If their families are watching tonight, what would you say to them?"

Ann: "Well I think every family has to make their own decision and look at their own circumstances. But I feel if you are well-informed and you understand even just a little of the science behind it, I think it’s a smart decision to get vaccinated."

Indiana: "I feel good. I feel good about it and I’m glad I can go places now and if I do get sick I won’t get as sick."

Here is data from our area: Over the course of the last full week, 95 children in Monroe County (defined as people under 20) got COVID. Three of the 13 active cases in Livingston County are school-age children.

Brean: "We got an email from the Wayne County Health Department and it said that one out of five of their new positive cases are children.

Dr. Bennett: "That’s correct."

Brean: "That’s a concern, clearly?"

Dr. Bennett: "It’s an enormous concern. This variant does appear to be spreading in children quite a bit."

Brean: "Children 12 to 18 getting their vaccination would do what?"

Dr. Bennett: "Protect them and their families. It would make a huge difference."

Several community-based COVID-19 vaccine clinics are being held on Saturday, Aug. 7:

  • Lightfoot R-Center, 271 Flint St., Rochester: 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. This clinic is offering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for individuals 18 and older. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome.
  • Tops Plaza, 340 Lake Ave., Rochester: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This clinic is offering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for individuals 18 and older. No appointment is necessary.

One is being held on Sunday, Aug. 8:

  • Edgerton R-Center, 41 Backus St., Rochester: 1 to 3:45 p.m. This clinic is offering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for individuals 18 and older and the two-dose Pfizer vaccine for individuals 12 and older. Those younger than 18 must have parent/guardian consent for vaccination. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome.

To make an appointment, click here.