The COVID-19 Vaccine – Is It Worth a Shot?

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Grace Nelson, 2022, Writer

After months of waiting, Massachusetts finally made it to phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.. Now, anyone 16 years or older is eligible to get the shot, and adolescents ages 12-15 are close behind. I, like many of my peers, was very relieved to get my first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine; but others are reluctant due to concerns over its effectiveness and the unknown health consequences. So, is the COVID-19 vaccine really worth it?

Many Americans across the country have already made the decision to receive the vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 252 million people have received one dose of the vaccine, while 103 million are fully vaccinated.  In the case of Bristol County, Massachusetts, over 170,000 people are fully vaccinated, which is about 30% of the total population. Yet herd immunity requires between 50 and 90% of a population to be vaccinated, depending on how contagious the virus is. It appears that the US may struggle to reach herd immunity unless more people can be convinced to get the shot.

So, what do MHS students think about the vaccine? After polling a small sample of students, it was clear that they, at least, are very eager to get the vaccine and move past the pandemic. These students gave multiple justifications to get the vaccine, including wanting to hang out with friends again, wanting to travel, and even to protect their loved ones. Sick of social distancing, students just want to return to what life was like before the world flipped on its head. Underclassmen who are not yet 16 years old also expressed a desire to get the vaccine once they are eligible, which according to Pfizer should be very soon.

In terms of side effects, most of the students polled for this article reported at least a sore arm. Others said they felt tired, nauseous, or had a headache after the vaccine. Despite these side effects, no one said that they regretted their decision. While nobody likes feeling under the weather, the long term benefit of being protected from the virus makes the side effects worth it.

Yet if you look online you will easily come across people who fervently disagree. From conspiracies regarding adverse health effects and the alleged rushed process of development, many don’t feel comfortable getting the shot. Some claims are more outlandish, like the theory that the government wants to track people using microchips in the vaccine. Other people simply do not want to deal with the registration process or the two dose requirement.

Many of these conspiracies can be easily debunked. The vaccine was developed rapidly because scientists across the globe were working non-stop to develop it, not because it was rushed. And no, the government is not trying to track you with a microchip. However, there is some validity in the claim that getting the vaccine is a hassle. It’s true, the commute to your vaccination site can be annoying, especially if it is far away. Students from MHS traveled up to one and a half hours away in order to get the shot. Some individuals in the US just don’t want to deal with traveling to get two doses of a vaccine. All in all it seems that the pros clearly outweigh the cons. No matter the hassle, we all should make an effort to get vaccinated. Returning to our pre-pandemic lifestyles needs to be a priority for all. The COVID-19 vaccine is truly worth the shot.