By Sienna Beck
Sienna, 10, is a student at the local Writopia Lab and a 5th grader at PS 87.
My Booster Shot Story in 15 Words: I went to the Duane Reade at 72nd Street and got my scheduled COVID booster.
Yeah. Actually, there’s 3½ more hours to the story. It started that way: going to the Duane Reade on 72nd Street and Broadway, where I had an appointment for my COVID vaccine booster at 8:30am on Sunday, October 23rd. I was cheerful, assuming it would be a quick trip, prick, and then home. Boy, was I wrong.
“Let’s go,” said my mom. She, my eight-year-old sister Willa, and I all put on our shoes and walked to Duane Reade. When we arrived, we went up on the escalator. We rounded the corner and our eyes bulged out. NO LINE!!! What luck!!!
We walked up to the counter. “Excuse me,” said my mom to the lady behind the counter. “We’re here to get boosters for my two daughters,” she said and motioned to us. Mom took out our vaccine cards and told the woman we had an 8:30am appointment.
“I’m sorry,” said the woman. “We don’t have children’s boosters here.”
“Yes, you do,” responded my mom. “My six-year-old daughter got the booster on Friday.” The lady sighed. “Fine, I’ll look.” And she disappeared in the back. Eventually she came back out, said “okay,” gave us some forms to sign, and told us to wait.
Before I knew it, it was 9:00am. We kept waiting. A line had formed. The pharmacist was helping each customer. Another employee explained that other scheduled workers had not come in. More waiting. Others waiting for vaccines started piling up. The pharmacist explained that she couldn’t give us the shots until someone else came for the pharmacy. But no one came.
Finally, after another half hour, the woman came back and explained to us and four other people who had children that there were no children’s boosters left. After all that! Annoyed and grumbling, all the people with kids stood up and exited Duane Reade.
My mom asked us to try another pharmacy she had looked up on her phone, so we walked across the street to the 72nd Street station and took the subway to 86th Street. We got off and Mom led us to the pharmacy that was supposed to be on 88th Street. Turns out, the app she’d been following led us astray! We weren’t supposed to go to 86th Street, but to 79th Street! Fortunately, there was a Dunkin’ Donuts at 88th Street, so we got donuts and began our voyage to 79th Street. On the way, we ran into our good friends, the Chanin family and told them our story, not realizing how much of the story was still to come!
We reached the Duane Reade on 79th street with high hopes. The pharmacy opened at 10am, and it was 10:15. But when we got to the pharmacy, the gate was still down and a line had formed. Their pharmacist hadn’t arrived, and the staff had no idea when someone might come in.
While we were waiting, my mom desperately called another pharmacy she hoped was open. When she hung up, she looked hopeful. “I’ve found a pharmacy that will give you the booster,” my mom told us. On the way out of the Duane Reade, Willa and I spotted really cute stuffed animals. We pleaded with my mom and she said we could get one each, because we had been patient and cheerful despite the morning’s adventures. I selected a cat; its name was Tabitha. Willa selected a dog named Mandarin. And for our sister Olive, we chose a rainbow-dotted creature named Dotty. (I have a smaller version of Dotty! It’s so cuuuute!)
The pharmacy my mom had reached was Danny’s Pharmacy II, on West End and 65th Street. We still had a ways to walk! On the way, we popped into several other pharmacies, none of which were willing to give us the booster — either they didn’t have it or they didn’t have appointments. Finally, we reached Danny’s Pharmacy. It was 10:50, and the pharmacy opened at 11, so we had some time. We ran into the convenience store next door and bought egg sandwiches for brunch. We had barely taken a bite when Danny arrived. He was also carrying his breakfast!
Danny was so nice. He let me come behind the counter to give him all of my information. He was also the only one at the pharmacy, but unlike at Duane Reade, he was so friendly and helpful, even as more customers filled the store and the phone was ringing off the hook. He was able to help us even while the store was busy and he was helping other people, too.
After just a few minutes, Mom and Willa came behind the counter too, and I was up first for my shot. I squeezed my mom’s hand, felt a little pinch, and then Danny said, “Are you ready for me to start?” Fooled, I answered, “…yes, I think I’m ready.” He began peeling a band-aid. I was confused! I said, “Wait, what?” He had already given me the booster before he asked me if I was ready because he knew I was so nervous! After me, he gave Willa her booster just as quickly.
Danny gave our frustrating morning adventure such a happy ending. Next time, we’re going to Danny’s Pharmacy first!!