Chelsea youth carnival attempts to give adolescent vaccine numbers a shot in the arm

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Activities at the Youth Vax day Carnival included obstacle courses.
Photo by Dean Moses

The Hudson Guild and NYCHA are promoting adolescent COVID-19 inoculations through games and free food.

As the city moves out of the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fight to continue saving lives is shifting to prevention efforts. Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that children starting at age 12 can now receive the life-saving jab, Hudson Guild teamed with NYCHA to hold a Youth Vax day Carnival on Tuesday designed to offer children the vaccine amidst a host of exciting activities.

The playground on West 17th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue was overflowing with fun, summer activities and games such as obstacle courses, tug of war ropes, potato sack races, large connect fours, and more. Not only that, but families were also offered free food such as popcorn and barbecued burgers on the scorching June 8 afternoon.

Children laughed as they played jump rope. Photo by Dean Moses

Cela is a 36-year-old mother of a 5-year-old and 13-year-old and says she came to the event for her daughter, but she admits that she will be holding off vaccinating her eldest child. 

“I got it for me but my kids—not yet. There hasn’t been enough research on it. He is perfectly healthy. He can wait on it,” Cela told amNewYork Metro as her daughter was handed a cup of popcorn, adding, “It’s great to be outside again.”

While youth immunizations remain a hard sell for some parents, social gatherings such as these would not likely be taking place without the vaccine rollout. It is with this in mind that the Director of Community Building for Hudson Guild Daisy Mendoza says she is looking to help save lives and continue keeping infection rates down.

Children race in potato sacks. Photo by Dean Moses

“A lot of people in this neighborhood are vaccine-hesitant, so we are really trying to promote the safety of the vaccine by including fun, out of the box type of things,” Mendoza said, explaining that a nurse was on hand to speak with parents and legal guardians regarding the safety and effectiveness of the injections.

“The nurse talks about COVID and the vaccine and why it is safe. We also have a vaccine clinic right here on 17th Street, so we can escort the ones who do want to get vaccinated right here,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza shared that within the first hour of the carnival, five children signed up to get the jab. The event ran from 11am to 4pm.

Director of Community Building for Hudson Guild Daisy Mendoza. Photo by Dean Moses
A young boy draws with chalk. Photo by Dean Moses
Health information was on hand. Photo by Dean Moses