The vaccine has finally been approved for kids who are ages 5 to 11! That’s me! When I heard this news, I asked my mom and dad if I could get the vaccine as soon as possible. I mean, it’s that or just stay in a mask the rest of my life. Well, maybe not the rest of my life, but for a longer period of time then I would have to if everyone just got vaccinated.

My first appointment was this week and I was so excited.

In May, the CDC approved the vaccine for my brother’s older age group, so he got to have it for summer. I was jealous and I asked if I could get it at the same time, but I still wasn’t allowed. All summer, my brother would always say, “I wouldn’t have to wear a mask if it weren’t for you,” because my family still took a lot of precautions since I wasn’t vaccinated yet. But honestly, I am not getting the vaccine so he doesn’t have to wear a mask. I am getting it so I don’t have to.

Wearing the mask is really hard at times, especially in school. You have to keep your mask up the whole time — even after gym, when you’ve been playing a sport and then have to walk all the way to the stairs, and then up three flights of stairs in a crowd of people, and then walk all the way to your classroom.

It’s especially tough when the mask starts tugging at the back of your ears and they start aching. But you have to keep the mask on. If not, and people get sick, we might have to go back to virtual classes and not be able to talk to our friends. I really don’t want that to happen.

Once I’m vaccinated, I’m going to do that thing Spider-Man does when he’s feeling good about himself — the Spidey strut. And I’m going to go around without a mask as soon as it is safe.

I used to be really afraid of needles, but that’s been getting better. There’s nothing that I’m really scared of about the vaccine. And now that I’m getting the vaccine to end this suffering, it is going to be the opposite of what it used to be with needles. I used to worry about it hurting too much, but now I know that it never hurt as bad as in my imagination. Even if you don’t like needles, they keep you from getting really sick and maybe going to the hospital.

This whole pandemic thing is kind of like Marvel. Coronavirus is like the evil villain Ultron because he slowly got stronger just like COVID-19 got stronger, taking over the world, and morphing into the variants. But the vaccine is like Iron Man’s suit or even the Super Soldier Serum that Captain America got. Both of those things made the Marvel heroes stronger and helped them defeat Ultron. If you get the vaccine then that stops Ultron — a.k.a. coronavirus — from becoming all powerful. Be like Iron Man and Captain America. Get the vaccine.

(Speaking of superheroes, though: I wonder if people will still like Batman once the pandemic is over. This whole thing started from a bat. Will he have to change his name or something?)

The vaccine is very important to get, because it could keep you safe and even save the lives of people around you (especially for older people, like my 98-year-old great-grandma). Also, if you don’t get the vaccine, then people who do will still have to keep their masks on, which is one of the top three worst parts of the pandemic. (The other two worst parts of the pandemic are: quarantine and virtual school.) That’s why I hope everybody decides to get the vaccine.

Thanks to modern medicine, COVID-19 is closer to being over. I want to say thank you to all the smart scientists and doctors who made the vaccine and did the tests to make it ready for kids. Did you all get straight A’s on your report cards?

Titus Scarpelli is a 10-year-old kid who likes to make jokes. He is a fifth grader in the Philadelphia School District. He loves hot dogs and music. He thinks Lord of the Rings books are better than the Harry Potter series.