'Kind of nervous but excited': Elgin girl the first 12-year-old vaccinated at Sherman Hospital

  • Geneva Dadabo, 12, of Elgin holds her mom's hand Thursday as she receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Yesi Velazquez at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin. Geneva was the first 12-year-old to be vaccinated at the hospital.

    Geneva Dadabo, 12, of Elgin holds her mom's hand Thursday as she receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Yesi Velazquez at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin. Geneva was the first 12-year-old to be vaccinated at the hospital. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva Dadabo, 12, of Elgin shows off her "I Got Mine" sticker, which she placed over her bandage after she got her Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shot Thursday at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin.

    Geneva Dadabo, 12, of Elgin shows off her "I Got Mine" sticker, which she placed over her bandage after she got her Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shot Thursday at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva Dadabo, 12, of Elgin and her mom Rachael Dadabo listen as nurse Yesi Velazquez goes over some details before administering Geneva's COVID vaccine Thursday at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin.

    Geneva Dadabo, 12, of Elgin and her mom Rachael Dadabo listen as nurse Yesi Velazquez goes over some details before administering Geneva's COVID vaccine Thursday at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/14/2021 6:27 AM

Saying she was "kind of nervous, but excited," Geneva Dadabo of Elgin sat down in front of a specially placed promotional hospital backdrop Thursday to be the first 12-year-old to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin.

Surrounded by hospital officials and media, she held her mom's hand and closed her eyes as nurse Yesi Velazquez administered the shot.

 

And for all the buildup, just like that, it was over. No pain, but very hopeful of gain.

"It felt like my arm got pinched," she said, smiling as she placed her "I Got Mine" sticker over her bandage on her arm.

Geneva was the first of 101 kids 12 to 15 scheduled to receive the Pfizer vaccine at the hospital Thursday, the first day medical workers administered the shot to that age range after approval from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention.

Her mom, Rachael Dadabo, made the appointment the minute it was available Tuesday.

"I'm not so concerned about myself getting COVID. I'm not concerned about my children getting COVID. But we have a lot of loved ones who are vulnerable," she said. "And so our bigger concern is protecting them and not wanting to pass the disease on to them."

"While it may not be a big deal for us, it could be a big deal for someone we love."

Rachael Dadabo said that when her four children, ages 6 to 15, were younger, she was vaccine-hesitant.

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"It was a common mindset at the time," she said. "I didn't start until they were a year old, and I spaced them out a lot, and I was just much more cautious of the cost versus benefit."

Dadabo said her mindset changed many years ago, before the pandemic, and her kids have all received the regular slate of vaccinations. The pandemic strengthened her belief in the importance of vaccinations.

"I've started to view vaccinations as more of a community protection versus an individual protection," she said. She was so comfortable that she even tried to sign up her children for clinical trials.

"We were very pro-COVID vaccine from the beginning."

Advocate Sherman Hospital recently administered it's 40,000th COVID-19 vaccine shot in Elgin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

During a recent Advocate Aurora Health town hall, Dr. Markeita Moore, a pediatrician at Advocate Children's Hospital, spoke about her vaccine recommendations for kids, saying, "It is safe. We highly recommend it, because kids right now represent 22% of COVID-19 cases."

Parents or guardians can make appointments online at aah.org, by calling (866) 443-2584 or by using the hospital's LiveWell app.

While sitting and waiting for the required 15 minutes to pass after getting the vaccine, Geneva said she was excited and looked forward to not having to wear a mask as often with her friends outside or in the car.

"And I want to hug my grandma without wearing a mask," she said.

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