COVID-19’s Youth Vaccinations

Kennedy Eller, Staff Writer

In March 2020, we were all in the seventh period waiting for the governor to announce a short two-week break due to a disease called COVID-19. We all thought we would see our friends in two weeks, soon after, those two weeks expanded.  So here we are, now in November of 2021, finally back in school, but the struggle against COVID-19 is far from over. In December of 2020, Pfizer received emergency authorization to start administering vaccines to the public. While there has been some pushback, over half of the U.S. is vaccinated, including students at our school. In King County, 77.6% of eligible residents 12 and over are fully vaccinated, and 83.8% of eligible residents have had the first dose. Pfizer’s vaccine has been approved for 12 and older, and the majority of the unvaccinated in King County is made up of young children under 12 years old.

However, even with the approvals from the FDA and Pfizer’s trials, there is still pushback over the vaccine with claims that the vaccine makes you magnetic, kills you, or allows the government to track you. None of these claims are true or scientific. As for getting vaccinated, most vaccination locations are drugstores and health centers that are nearby. There is a vaccine locator on the King County website where you can find vaccine providers, what vaccine they have, and make an appointment. The vaccine is free to get wherever you go.

As for what’s in the vaccine, according to King County  “The key ingredient in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is a genetic material called mRNA. The vaccines also contain lipids, salts, acetic acid (a main ingredient in vinegar), and sugar.”  King County has an entire page dedicated to misinformation surrounding the vaccine correction about the misinformation being spread. Even though this information is available with a simple Google search, there is still pushback.

Vaccine pushback has been around since the early 1900s. In 1905 there was a Supreme Court case about states having authority over vaccine requirements within public schools; however, the supreme court ruled that the vaccines were a matter of public health and that it overrules personal freedoms. This resulted in the court ruling that states have the right to exclude unvaccinated students from public schools in order to ensure public safety. This started with Henning Jacobson who was fined $5 (around $153 today) for not getting the smallpox vaccine and not letting his young children get it either. Eventually, Jacobson went to court, stating that making it required to get the smallpox vaccine was unconstitutional and against his right to freedom. The courts ruled against Jacobson, who offered no evidence to support his cause, and declared that the states have authority over vaccine requirements. This case is what drew the line for future vaccines and requirements surrounding vaccines. As many public places around the country continue to start requiring the vaccine, the question pops up again, should we sacrifice personal freedoms for the health of the public?

IHS students shared how they feel about being vaccinated and how it has affected them. Junior Bryce Roman noted, “I had contracted COVID-19 early on and got vaccinated as soon as possible. However, the after-effects of COVID-19 have affected my ability to play football and other sports, which is kind of annoying. Being fully vaccinated makes me less worried about the delta variant, but I still worry because my younger sister isn’t old enough to be vaccinated yet.” Bryce called out how hard it is for students with younger siblings who cannot be vaccinated yet because getting covid so young would affect them for a long time as well as how COVID-19 has seriously affected athletes. Both freshman Hazel Terry and sophomore Andrew Junker do not want to have to shut down again due to the effect on athletics departments. Other students are worried about the delta variant due to the fear of shutdown and learning at home again. Senior Kyra Schwartz notes, “I always wear a mask, I don’t want to get myself or anyone else sick, even being fully vaccinated.” Many students shared the same thoughts on wearing masks, even when vaccinated.

As the student body and the staff continue to adjust in our return to school, we see our best attempts at social distancing, mask-wearing, and general cleanliness to protect ourselves and those around us. We continue to stay safe as we clean desks after class, use hand sanitizer, and social distance in class. Our student body continues to demonstrate its commitment to student safety by wearing masks and social distancing, even in class. Even with school activities such as football games, homecoming, and more students continue to wear masks and participate in their daily activities. All around, even with such high vaccination status’s in our school COVID-19 and its variants, still surround us and pose a threat, so remember to wear your masks and wash your hands.