Vaccines and You: An Update On What COVID-19 Vaccines Mean for Curtis


The Staten Island Advance

A glimpse at our own School Based Health Center!

The new coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnsons & Johnsons are definitely giving people hope that they’ll be able to enjoy some sense of normality sooner than later. However, considering that high schools are now officially open for in-person learning, their use as vaccination centers has brought up some questions as to how that might work alongside regular school operations. As of now, there are three high schools on Staten Island being used as vaccination centers: Port Richmond High School, Staten Island Technical High School, and Susan E. Wagner High School. These schools plan to maintain their status as vaccination centers until late April and according to the Department of Education, they will allow appointments for vaccinations on the weekends, during after-school hours, and all day every day during spring break. Considering that our school has its own health center, some questions have also arisen as to whether or not Curtis could be joining that list. Ms. Rosa Vergara, the health center’s manager, said that “Curtis High School is a large community school, so having the capability to provide Covid vaccines would help the community at large. Currently, we do not plan to vaccinate patients, but given the opportunity, we can revisit this with our Medical Director. However, we do provide immunizations for students at this time.” 

On the topic of vaccinations, it is definitely worth mentioning that New York officials have prioritized vaccine distribution to those working in education, especially teachers. Thankfully, many of our teachers here at Curtis have been able to receive their vaccinations! Ms. Pillarella, an English teacher, said “I received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, both at Wagner H.S. where they were very organized.  I had almost no reaction to the first but mild chills and aches for about 24 hours after the second.” Mr. Basso, a history teacher who also received the Moderna vaccine, had a pretty similar experience. “I actually just received the second shot last night and it’s been rough!  Trying to recover at home now.” Some didn’t even experience side effects after taking the vaccine. For example, Ms. Rombley, an assistant principal and foreign language teacher, added “It was very challenging for me to secure an appointment, I’d say I was very lucky to have been able to get one. I did not experience any symptoms and overall, I am very glad to be vaccinated and know that I am protected against the virus- for the most part.” Although the side effects may vary from person to person, the added protection against this pandemic makes vaccination absolutely worth it!

Jada Owens, a sophomore, was very happy to hear that many of her teachers were getting their vaccinations. “I am very excited that vaccinations are available to teachers. This makes me eager for the next few months and makes me think that we might be able to return to normal school life.” Despite all the hardships we’ve experienced throughout this school year, this news definitely allows us to envision a return to a more traditional school year in the near future. 

As of April 6th, anyone 16 or older can now take the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine! To schedule an appointment, go to and find a location that works for you.

For more information regarding vaccine side effects and COVID-19 vaccines in general, visit


A room in the Health Center, decked out with a chair and its own equipment (The Staten Island Advance)