In a classroom at New Dorp High School, 16-year-old Dior Dorsey got her first dose of the COVID vaccine.
“I've wanted to get it for a while, I just want to do everything I can to be a part of, like, the solution instead of the problem,” she said.
Dior said she had been too busy to get the shot, but with her school hosting this pop-up vaccine clinic and the first day of class just weeks away, felt this was the time. So far, no regrets.
“I'm feeling good, it feels fine. I don't feel anything wrong. It was good,” she said.
The in-school shots are part of a massive push education department officials are calling “Vax to School.” Before Dior got her vaccine, her school hosted a 45-minute roundtable where students, staff and parents were able to ask questions about the upcoming school year and the vaccine, and get answers from Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter and Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Daniel Stephens.
One parent shared distrust many Black and Hispanic families have in the vaccine. Porter said she could relate.
“I've had similar conversations in my own family, right, and also you know, how to think about what it meant for me to get vaccinated, and to get my family vaccinated,” Porter said.
For Dior, the session was helpful. She said many people her age have misconceptions about the shots.
“I've heard a lot of, like, people around me, they were nervous about getting the vaccine because, I think, it's honestly because they didn't do enough research so that's just my opinion. I guess they're nervous because, you know, those on social media, there's certain things going around about the vaccine,” she said.
Principal Deirdre DeAngelis said the students in the crowd came up with their own questions, based on what they learned in class and saw in the news.
“I'm glad that they were, they were able to receive some answers, and now they'll take those answers back to their families and they'll discuss, you know, what their personal decision is going to be,” she said.
As for Dior, as long as she gets her second shot on time, she’ll be fully vaccinated against COVID just a few days into the new school year.