Our lives amidst the global pandemic have been drastically changed, and by now we have learned to adapt to the precautions that prevent the spread of this deadly virus. Students attend school in masks, and up until recently many students were practicing digital learning from home. After a year of stress and worry, everyone is grasping for whatever ounce of normalcy they can get. One would think this desperation to go back to our regular routines would prompt everyone to get the covid vaccine. However, that is not the case. There is a lot of mistrust surrounding the government, the validity of the vaccine, as well as medical officials. Many people refuse to receive the vaccine and stress the fact that it is a violation of the constitution, or even claiming it is “their body, their choice”. Though the vaccine has become very controversial and politicized, facts support that the covid vaccine is a legitimate vaccine, and it should be required for students who attend Masuk.
Those who disagree with the Coronavirus vaccine argue that it is their constitutional right to choose whether or not they will get vaccinated. . However, requiring certain vaccines for students at public schools is not a foriegn concept. There are various other vaccines required for Masuk students to prevent the spread of other dangerous and deadly diseases. Though vaccines that prevent the spread of less severe illnesses such as the flu are not required, there are numerous vaccines to prevent deadly viruses such as the rubella, chickenpox, and polio vaccines. The requirement for these vaccines has not been questioned like the covid vaccine has and the controversy surrounding its validity has many people reaching for outlandish excuses to not receive the vaccine, nevermind make it a requirement for students and teachers. Looking at the effect that these vaccines have had for diseases such as rubella, chickenpox, etc, we can see that when vaccines for dangerous diseases are mandatory, the spread is significantly slowed down, and the symptoms for such diseases are much less extreme. Most diseases such as chickenpox, in fact, are so rare now that it is almost unheard of for anyone to contract the illness, and even less so to experience severe symptoms. Right now, students and staff are relying on the use of masks to keep one another safe, and while we know masks work, many students fail to wear their masks properly and have to remove their masks during lunch while eating in close proximity to other students. Herd immunity is truly the only way we can stop the spread of covid and hopefully, revert to what we once considered normal.
Due to the chaos and havoc that covid wreaked on the world, the vaccine was created at a more rapid rate then previous vaccines. This created a lot of mistrust surrounding the government and validity of the vaccine for many people. A common misconception surrounding the vaccine is that it was made too rapidly to be effective. However, researchers have been studying the development of vaccines for diseases such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) ever since they were discovered in 2003 as well as 2012. These diseases are caused by coronaviruses that are very closely related to the virus that causes COVID-19. Additionally, there have been many other mRNA vaccines such as the flu and rabies vaccines that have been approved for years. Not only has the COVID-19 vaccine been researched and tested extensively, but the vaccine has now received FDA approval for ages 16 and up in comparison to its previous emergency approval. Masuk sophomore, Erin Davis, says, “I trust the vaccine. I’ve been vaccinated since the summer. I believe that although it is a choice, if you are eligible to get the vaccine you should. Getting the vaccine prevents the spread of Covid and the start of mutations such as Delta. It is free and it would help and benefit everyone. It is a known fact that hospitalizations for Covid have decreased since vaccines have been available.” There is really no reason to not get the vaccine if you are healthy enough to do so. It is for the greater good and there is an abundance of data proving its effectiveness. Long term health issues are very unlikely and the side effects from covid would be far worse than that of the vaccine. Many people find flaws in the blind trust in the government, but those of us who do trust the vaccine are listening to health professionals while those who question it often do not have fact based concerns.
To conclude, the vaccine is largely utilized to protect others. Though it provides protection individually, it is essential to look at the bigger picture and get the vaccine to protect the lives of others. As Mrs. Crino puts it, “I believe all people, regardless of age, have responsibilities as members of a community. One responsibility is for an individual to do his/her part to keep the community safe and healthy.” Everyone is all responsible for keeping one another safe, as COVID is highly contagious and even deadly. It is essential that we work together, make certain sacrifices, and do our part to keep this virus at bay, because for all we know, the next statistic could be someone we love, or even ourselves.