By Natalie Lorenzo, ‘23, Editorial Staff

One of the biggest debates that has ever impacted the country has been ongoing for almost two years: how to handle Covid-19. After a few months, three vaccines were developed by three different companies.  Two of the vaccines required two doses, the other had one. Debate broke out and the country was consumed in conspiracy theories about the vaccines. Was the government inserting tracking devices into the people? Would the vaccines cause infertility? How safe are the vaccines in general? The vaccines remained unapproved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)  and were only available to those eighteen and above in the beginning. During the spring, they became available for 16 and up.  Then, a few weeks later, the vaccines became available for ages 12 and up. This progressed until today, when currently, the vaccine is available for ages five and older.  

Despite being approved for all of these ages and the Pfizer vaccine being FDA approved, many people are hesitant to get the vaccine. While some were rushing to their nearby Walgreens and CVS the moment the vaccines were released others have still, months later, not received their shot. Due to this, cases are continuing to appear over the country and mask mandates are still in place around the country including in school. In addition, some parents refused to get their children vaccinated leaving them unprotected amongst the new variants that are appearing from COVID. Below, three students with different vaccination statuses share their opinions about how it has affected their lives. 

An anonymous student explained how not being vaccinated impacts their day-to-day life: “How come people look at me differently because I am not vaccinated? I am accepting the risks for myself, weighing the pros and cons of my own life, and I am being judged for it. And people tell me that I am putting others at risk. I wear my mask the proper way, I never go to school, or anywhere else for that matter, if I’m feeling even just a little bit sick, so how am I putting anyone at risk?” This perspective from an unvaccinated student shows that many believe that getting vaccinated only affects them, therefore, should not be mandated and forced upon people. 

Another student, who received both vaccinations stated, “I respect that people want to make their own health choices, but this is a pandemic that we have been living with for almost two years, it’s time for everyone to recognize what’s best for our society instead of our individual desires and preferences.” This is a growingly popular belief due to the belief that once everyone is vaccinated, hopefully, society should go back to normal. This is promoting pro-vaccination ideas because it would end the months of fear, stress, and quarantine. 

Another student, who is half vaccinated (only received one shot) and has an existing condition shares their story in support of vaccines: “Well I’m in complete support of the vaccine personally. I know it’s relatively new but it’s proven to be really effective in terms of not only preventing the spread but whoever gets COVID while having the vaccine are usually asymptomatic and don’t end up in the hospital. As for me, being half vaccinated gives me a little bit of security but with my blood disorder, hereditary spherocytosis, and the fact I got my spleen removed this past August, I’m still very much at risk for getting sick if I do catch COVID. I’m also going to Europe this summer so being only half vaccinated is stressful due to the possibility of me not being able to go if my parents don’t agree to me getting the second vaccine. But I do think it’s important for people to get the vaccine. Of course, I understand the concerns with it, but I personally think the benefits outweigh the risks.”

In the past, the government has put military drafts into place during the country’s time of crisis to enforce that people stand up to help their country. By being part of the draft, Americans would be risking their lives to save or benefit others. Now, the government is urging people to get vaccinated to help the country and, overall, the world as a whole. Comparing this to the draft can seem ludicrous when in one instance it is urging people to fight in combat, mostly in other countries, in trench warfare for a cause and the other is two needles that are scientifically proven to be safe and effective against the virus. This issue will remain widely debated across the country, the world, and in schools.