Another shift at the mass vaccination centre. Today Im doing the five to twelve year olds.
I have learned much in the ways of Minecraft, and Spiderman, and Frozen.
I have been educated in the fact that there are 16 unicorn stickers on the wall of my vaccination booth. And that I look like I am 100 years old. And that unicorns are not real, because they are made of rainbows.
I have learned not to ask kids closed questions.
“Do you know where you live?”
Most of the kids are champions.
Some are like super cool and just sit there in the chair watching me jab them.
“That didn’t even hurt less than I thought it would”
“Do I get a sticker?”
Some are really scared, but despite it, stay still.
On their parents lap or alone in the chair.
That is your job I tell them. Stay still as a statue for 2 seconds. And they are scared, and their eyes well up, but they stay still.
They are the bravest.
A few require the undignified necessity of being held tight as they wriggle and kick and scream and protest.
One six year old told me to fuck off.
Fair enough too.
We just don’t have time for best practice management. The queue of families goes across the stadium and up the stairs into the foyer. So we hold them still as a statue, and jab them, and give them a sticker and a fist bump, and they are mostly OK by then.
One of the parents looks around at the stadium. At the rows of booths, and all the people, and the plexiglass ‘pharmacy’ area where nurses sit at tables drawing up vaccine. “This whole thing is just so surreal.”
These are strange times we live in.
Fuck off times.
So like the kids, I try to stay still.
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