“There’s light at the end of the tunnel.” That appears to be the sentiment shared by numerous health experts when it comes to the Coronavirus pandemic. These experts say the way we get to the end of this figurative tunnel is by receiving the Coronavirus vaccine. As of April 26, 138,644,663 have received at least one shot and 96,888,088 have been fully vaccinated nationally. In the state of Florida, 8,755,697 (via Our World Data) have received at least one shot and 5,946,271 are fully vaccinated. A portion of those vaccinations have gone to 16-18 year olds. Vaccinations for that age group opened up on April 5th. That age group, as you may have figured out, includes high school aged students. The Blue and White had an opportunity to speak to several students and get their thoughts on the vaccine.
We began by speaking with Greyson Smith. Smith is not only interested in the vaccine but has already received it. He described his experience as such, “I received the Pfizer vaccine at Walgreens in Mount Dora. I felt extremely achy and had a really bad headache afterwards.” He explained that he was interested in the vaccine because, “It helps decrease the chance that I’ll infect others.” Greyson also told us that if it were recommended, he’d receive a booster shot. Greyson’s message to those who are still on the fence about receiving the vaccine: “You not getting it is only increasing the odds that this pandemic goes onwards and there are protocols in place to ensure the safety of the vaccine before it was even released for humans.” We also heard from several other students who are interested or have already received the vaccine such as Jacob Gadberry. Gadberry has already received his vaccine citing his disability that compromises his immune system, as to why he received the vaccine and said to those on the fence, “It’s for the good of yourself and those around you who’s immune system isn’t as strong or can’t get vaccinated.”
Vaccine hesitancy has been around as long as vaccines themselves and the Coronavirus vaccine was not spared from this attitude. Many people typically cite medical or religious reasons, but the fact that this vaccine was produced in a matter of months as opposed to the years it usually takes to develop a vaccine hasn’t helped this vaccine’s case either. The Blue Aand White heard from Kamryn Hall. While she hasn’t ruled out receiving the vaccine, she’s not planning on receiving it anytime soon. As for why she’s currently uninterested, Hall said: “I do not have the time to have COVID symptoms during the school year, I need to focus on my studies so I may consider the vaccine during the summer. I think the people who need the vaccine (people with underlying conditions, the elderly, essential workers) deserve to get the vaccine first, so I think waiting is justified.” Kamryn did say she’d be open to receiving the vaccine in the future saying “Yes, but it’ll be awhile until I do. I believe it is important to get the vaccine if you are able.” She added, “I do not have a problem with the vaccine, so if it were required, I would have no problem with it.”
So whether you’re dead set on receiving the vaccine, you don’t plan to receive the vaccine at all, or you’re on the fence, the discussion about the vaccine is here to stay. So if you’re on the fence, don’t make an ill-informed decision about this vaccine because the best citizen, is an informed citizen.