WALLINGFORD — Maria Ruiz has worked as the head teacher of the Spanish Community of Wallingford’s Bebes Activos playgroup for the past 10 years. She talked about how the COVID-19 vaccine helped her at home and with her childcare job.
Question: When did you receive your vaccination?
Answer: March, the second one was in April
Q: Did you experience any symptoms from the vaccine?
A: Mild symptoms, I had headaches, tiredness and body aches. Only with the first dose, the second dose I was fine.
Q: How did you set up your appointment?
A: I received a phone call from SCOW saying I qualified for the vaccine since I was considered an educator. I said ‘yes’ right away.
Q: Did you have any concerns before getting the vaccine?
A: I tried not to watch too much news, I read very little. I did not have any concerns, I just wanted to keep everyone in my house and community safe.
Q: How has getting the vaccine impacted your position as an educator?
A: I feel as the leader of a group it is important for me to get the vaccine that way I could actually encourage others to do it. Just like at home, I have to be a role model for my kids. Especially for the little ones that aren't able to get their vaccines — I knew I was protecting them. For me, it was important to do my part to keep our families safe.
Q: What are you looking forward to as people continue to get vaccinated?
A: I am very excited to be able to go back to our normal life, even if it's not 100%. Being able to see my parents...Just being able to go out and spend time with friends and knowing that by being vaccinated I can do my part to keep them safe.
Q: How did your role change in childcare during the pandemic?
A: For me, the hardest part was getting used to the new normal. It was very sad to see the new situation. Everything was shut down, we were not prepared for the pandemic. It was hard getting used to the new normal. It was sad and hard, but it was something we had to do to take care of ourselves. It was very difficult to me with the classes online, and it's not the same as being in front of someone, but we tried to do our best. When we came back, I was excited but nervous, we followed protocol and took care of everything. I knew we were going to do this together.
Q: What would you say to those considering getting vaccinated?
A: I do hear the news about the Latino community not wanting to get the vaccine…in other countries we have people who cannot get the vaccine, and in the United States we have the option to and a lot of us do not make the important decision to (get vaccinated). Not just for us, but for our family. The pandemic has been something that has been hard for all of us, but day by day I feel like I learned to appreciate life, fewer complaints and more being thankful for all that I have.