Children report joy in taking Covid vaccine to see friends

SÃO PAULO, SP (FOLHAPRESS) – The anxiety of getting vaccinated against Covid-19 overcomes even the fear of the needle. It was like that, a year ago, when the national vaccination campaign started with many adults, and now this same feeling is reflected in children.

For them, the “ardidinho” that remains after a bite is worth a lot after almost two years of the pandemic in Brazil. It is after taking the vaccine that the children heard by Folha will go back to see their friends, family, go to the movies and even feel safe to travel.

According to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health for the vaccination campaign for children aged 5 to 11, the first to receive the Pfizer immunizer should be those with comorbidities, permanent disabilities, indigenous people and quilombolas.

Then, the folder indicates that those living with people in the risk group for Covid, such as the elderly and immunosuppressed, are vaccinated. Next, a scaling by age group is suggested, starting with the oldest.

In some states, such as São Paulo, the immunization of small children has already started last Friday (14), after the arrival of the first batch of pediatric doses.

Francisco Spanghero dos Reis Santos, aka Chico, 10, says that, from the moment it is announced that he can be vaccinated, he won’t even be able to sleep with such anticipation.

“I’m waiting for the seconds to get the vaccine, I’m just not counting the days because I don’t know when it’s [a minha data]. But the anxiety is far greater than the pain [da injeção]”, it says.

According to him, the first thing he will do after taking the vaccine is gather his friends for a party. “I didn’t have a party on my birthday last year, I only met in October with eight friends, but the plan is to call 17. After taking the vaccine it will be much safer.”

The expectation of getting an injection, in this case, surpasses that of any other vaccine in the past. The annual flu immunization campaign, which last year reached 71% of the children’s target audience, leads thousands of children to get the vaccine every year, but sometimes unwillingly.

“I don’t like that I have to take the flu vaccine every year and as I’m not excited it hurts a lot, but in this case it will be worth it”, says Chico.

As for the Covid vaccine, children are overcoming fear, whether of pain or needle. “Last year my fear of taking vaccines ended, I stopped crying with the injection and now I take any vaccine”, says Alice Faria Reale, 8, now an “expert” on the subject.

“The vaccine provides a very strong protection so that we don’t have a very serious disease, and that’s why I stopped being afraid, because it’s a good thing”, says she, who even gave tips in the vaccination room to a younger boy new one who was scared of the vaccine in the last year.

The twins Gabriele and Paula Antunes Pires, 11, disagree about their fear of pain. Gabriele says she is not afraid of injections and is counting the days to get the vaccine, while Paula twists her face a little and confesses that she is afraid.

“I’m a little afraid of the pain, because our mother took the second dose and her arm hurt, but I know it will go away quickly and then I’ll be immune”, says Paula.

Diego Alves dos Santos, 11, even worries about some of the effects of the vaccine, as his mother reported fever, tiredness and a lot of malaise after the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, effects that are expected and disappear in one to two days.

“I’m even afraid of feeling pain, but I think the vaccine with injection is safer, it works better”, he says, in comparison with the vaccine in the droplet format – such as the one against poliomyelitis.

The droplet experiment, by the way, was not successful with Alice Pacheco Sadoki de Freitas, 5, because of the “bad taste”. When it comes to injections, the girl says she is not afraid of needles and thinks she is braver than her sister, Maria Clara, 7.

“I really want to get the Covid vaccine to get well!”, says Alice. Maria Clara, more restrained, thinks the needle hurts a lot, but recognizes how good it is to have the vaccine to be protected.

Immunization of children will not be mandatory in the country, but parents who do not take their children to be vaccinated can be fined or even lose custody, experts say.

Depending on the small ears for the report, however, the choice is right.

“Since last year I have seen that many children have started to take [a Covid], then I got worried. Why hadn’t they launched the vaccine for children, right? And there is even the risk of dying, many children have died”, explains Diego.

Alice Reale thinks that all children should have the vaccine, especially the youngest ones, “because they are very small and need to have a lot of protection”. “Now you can’t take it secretly, you know, you have to have your parents’ permission. I think it’s important to take it so you don’t get sick”, he says.

Paula and Gabriele hope to be vaccinated so they can see older family members, like their 94-year-old great-grandmother, and travel.

“We children are at risk of passing on to them [os mais velhos] and they get sick, so it’s a good thing to get the vaccine”, reflects Paula. Gabriele is emphatic: the first thing she wants to do when she gets the vaccine is to go to Paris.

Alice Freitas, who took a test for Covid in the last week that was positive, says she wants to get the vaccine “so she doesn’t catch it again”. “I want to look good, see my friends and be with the whole family without a mask,” he says.

The release of the mask, by the way, is a desire of all interviews. Despite this, they understand that it is necessary to continue using protection even when vaccinated.

“We wore a mask at the New Year’s meeting, we only took a little off, but you can’t see the face properly… When I get the vaccine, I’ll be able to see my friends better [também vacinados]”, says Maria Clara.

And, for those who are not yet so excited about the vaccine, the little ones suggest that if there was a campaign aimed at this audience to explain and encourage immunization, more children would lose their fear of getting vaccinated.

“It would be cool with a cartoon, some character to be more interactive, for children to get emotional and get the vaccine”, projects Alice Reale. “Or the campaign with real children saying that it’s okay to get the vaccine, I would like it.”

Gabriele immediately thinks of Zé Gotinha. “If people watched a commercial with Zé Gotinha, for example, saying that he needs to be vaccinated, it would lessen the fear of the younger ones”, he reinforces.

Sought, the Ministry of Health said in a note that the campaign is under development and the broadcast should start this week.

When asked about statements by President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), about not wanting to vaccinate his daughter Laura, 11, the little ones thought it was wrong because children can also get Covid.

“I think it’s hypocritical because the vaccine is to help you, help others, and I think that those who don’t want to don’t know the science behind vaccines”, explains Paula.

For Chico, it is “irresponsible” to refuse the vaccine. “They’re saying the vaccine can give you a heart attack, but it’s a very low number [cerca de 0,0002%, de acordo com dados do Centro de Controle e Prevenção de Doenças americano]. And Covid can also cause heart problems”, he recalls.