FEATURE: now that the COVID vaccine is becoming available, Americans face a choice
February 8, 2021
There are currently 848,000 cases of COVID-19 in the United States.
Meanwhile, 31.1 million doses of a vaccine have been distributed to Americans since December.
Those two numbers next to each other provoke hope — but it’s not that simple.
I JUST WANT TO BE SAFE.”
— KARSEN THOMPSON
The long awaited vaccine has finally arrived, but a dose of Pfizer or Maderna is not the solution to all our pandemic problems. Those who have experienced the potential side effects of the vaccine can attest to that.
Those side effects may include symptoms such as tiredness, headache, chills, or even a fever. But while daunting, not everyone experiences these. In fact, most people don’t.
“My arm was definitely sore, but not bad,” said Erica Lambert, a nurse at UPMC Passavant Hospital, referencing her own experience with the COVID-19 vaccine. “Like a flu shot sore.”
“I was walking through the grocery store and I felt sort of a fog. I was moving super slow and it lasted an hour, then went away. I came home and felt a little nauseous, but that was it,” she added. “The second shot I got two weeks later hurt as soon as she put it in. By the time I got home, my arm was swollen. I couldn’t move it. I thought I had permanent damage.”
While plenty of people have received the vaccine, there are plenty of otherse who haven’t. Uncertainty lies among people who are not a part of the Phase 1A group, who were the first to be eligible for vaccinations.
“I don’t even know of anyone that has gotten the vaccine. Both could be an option [of choosing to get the vaccine or not], but I guess it depends on what everyone else says. I’m not really sure,” said Kylie Shillingburg-Fortuna, a sophomore health science major from Aliquippa.
People who haven’t made up their minds on the matter may be looking at the possibility of becoming social outcasts. Schools may not want unvaccinated students on campus; companies may not want unvaccinated employees; day care facilities might not watch unvaccinated kids.
Schools are soon to be faced with a new debate. Will students be required to get the vaccine? This question will pose discussion among students, families, faculty, and everyone in the Lincoln Park community. There is no doubt that opinions will differ widely.
Karsen Thompson, a health science major from Rochester, shares her belief on the dilemma. Thompson states, “If you don’t want the vaccine, don’t get it, but [unvaccinated people] need to take precautions and wear a mask, or better off, stay online. I just want to be safe.”
No matter where you stand, anti-vaccine or pro-vaccine, there will have to be a plan for educators to teach.
Lincoln Park’s principal, Dr. Lindsay Rodgers, said via email that Lincoln Park faculty will be receiving the vaccine “[h]opefully soon. The Beaver County School Nurses Organization has a plan to vaccinate all Beaver county school employees. They are ready to do this as soon as they are able to get doses of the vaccine.”
Dr. Rodgers went on to say, “I actually have not even asked for a formal decision from my staff [to get the vaccine] for this reason, as each person will have to make that decision. I personally will be getting one, though.”
There are pros and cons to each choice.
“Technology and health has advanced. Just like how they can determine where you come from, they can determine if you are high risk in your genetic profile,” said researcher Tracy Davis, from Canonsburg.
“Don’t get the vaccine for you,” Passavant nurse Erica Lambert encouraged. “Get it for your mom, your grandma, your pap, your neighbor, your sister, your co-worker, your pet…just get the vaccine.”