Grandma (Savta) Knows Best by
(24 Stories)

Prompted By Vaccination

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My daughter and my teenage grandchildren spent the pandemic in Israel where things were a lot more comfortable than here. While the boys went to school virtually, they were free to see their friends after school. When vaccinations became available, my daughter and her husband got them immediately, but the 16 year old called me to tell me he wasn’t sure he wanted to get vaccinated. He had heard (via social media, I guess) “horror stories.”

I asked him if he’d ever heard of polio. He said he hadn’t. I told him how, when I was a kid, everyone’s parents were so afraid of their children catching it that they kept us inside all summer, away from our friends and swimming pools and fun. I told him about children I’d known who were paralyzed by it, or spent their childhood in iron lungs. “The reason you haven’t heard of it,” I said, “is because there is a vaccine now. So no one gets polio anymore.”  I told him I was one of the guinea pigs…one of the kids who stood in line at my elementary school to get this new shot in the arm. And how excited we all were. He was silent. I continued,  “And you, Adiel, have had that polio vaccine, yourself!”

He called me a week later to tell me he’d had his first Covid shot and he felt fine. Then he called me two weeks later and said, “Savta! I got my second shot today and I couldn’t stop smiling for an hour after!”

Now I can’t stop smiling. My daughter and her family are on a plane flying back to California as I write this. I can hardly wait to see them. It’s been a long year. Thank science for vaccines.

Profile photo of Penny K Penny Righthand

Characterizations: moving, right on!, well written


  1. Thanx for this wonderful story Penny, and what a good Savta you are!

  2. Marian says:

    What a perfect way to talk to the grandchild generation, Penny. I love how you handled it and how your grandson responded. Hope you can see everyone soon!

  3. Suzy says:

    Penny, I love the way you convinced him to get the vaccine by telling him about polio. The reason he hadn’t heard of it was because everyone was vaccinated, and he had been too, as a baby. Perfect! Savta really does know best! How exciting that you will be seeing them imminently!

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    You are SO smart to have approached your grandson that way. The Internet is spreading all sorts of false information (“if you get the shot you’ll be sterile”, is one I heard a kid say on the news). I wish everyone had a smart Savta like you! Can you become our country’s spokesperson?

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    Penny, I so agree with you. You grandson is lucky to have such a wise Savta who could make him understand why getting vaccinated is so important. Hope your reunion with your grandkids was great!

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