About a year into the pandemic, we have finally started distributing the long-awaited vaccine but there are mixed feelings in the air. Some people are jumping at the chance of a vaccination while others are stepping back and prefer to wait before making that decision. From work environments, high-risk family members and overall doubts, three students at the college have voiced their opinions on how they feel about receiving the vaccine.
“I have always wholeheartedly believed in vaccines [and] I think that they are great,” vaccinated certified nurse’s assistant, Addisyn White, said. “They have saved so many lives, and it’s important for herd immunity to be vaccinated.”
“I’m really excited to get [the vaccine],” student, Gracie Goodpaster said. “At first, I was a little unsure but the more I got to know about it, the more I was for it because I think it’s going to help us get rid of [COVID-19].”
While Goodpaster and White are more than enthusiastic about the vaccine, Sam Paule is skeptical on the idea.
“I think [the vaccine] is a good start overall, but I don’t think I’m going to get [it],” Paule said. “I’d like to see a little bit more research done. However, I do think it’s good that it’s available for people that need it more than I do ... I just feel like I probably won’t because you still have to wear your mask and the companies aren’t going to be responsible for anything that can happen.”
The debate has been going around whether people are more comfortable with long-term damages of the vaccine or the ones of COVID-19. Paule, Goodpaster and White are all in the age category where if they were to contract COVID-19, their chances of severe illness are low. However, the worry of long-term damage runs through all their minds.
“I’m not necessarily scared of dying from [COVID-19], but there are long-term effects that have been affecting a lot of young people,” White said. “X-rays of young people’s lungs look significantly worse than people who have smoked their entire lives and it’s going to affect people in [their later] years... Looking at other vaccines that they’ve had, it’s a very small percentage of people that are affected in negative ways, but we’ve also scientifically come so far that I feel very confident in the work these teams have made.”
“Knowing the long-term effects [COVID-19] has on people’s body, they definitely do scare me,” Goodpaster said. “You can get lung and heart damage ... I’m not scared of the effects from the vaccine because they’ve done a lot of research on it … some of the smartest people in the world have been working on this vaccine and I don’t think any of the side effects could outweigh the side effects from [COVID-19].”
Although the long-term effects of COVID-19 do trouble Paule, he still is confident that younger people are looking at a more optimistic recovery when contracting the virus.
“I know plenty of people my age that have had [COVID-19] that say they are fine now,” Paule said. “[But] I guess we [do] not know what the side-effects will be later on, so I am concerned. I do think that us younger people have a better chance of fighting it off. We’ll probably see less health side effects but who knows, it could go either way depending on the person.”
On top of being concerned with her own health, Goodpaster lives with people who are high-risk which only increases her need for the vaccine.
“I live with my grandparents and they’re in their late 60s almost 70s,” Goodpaster said. “It’s always just a really big risk in the back of my mind that I could give them [COVID-19] and I could never live with myself if I did that … If I were vaccinated, they’d be safer in my presence.”
White, on the other hand, is a healthcare worker, making her decision to get the vaccine even easier.
“I got the vaccine because I work in a clinical setting at Children’s Mercy Hospital and it was offered to us,” White said. “I believe my round of vaccines was the fourth wave ... because [our clinic does] nose and mouth procedures where we’re exposed to [COVID-19] bacteria.”
Even though Paule does not want the vaccine now, he is not completely opposed to getting it in the future.
“I think I’d be more inclined to get it later than now just because I know vaccines take a couple years to properly make,” Paule said. “Then again, we’ve had so many people working on it for the last year, but I think I’d still be more likely to take it later.”
The United States has had a significant drop in cases ever since the vaccine has started to be distributed but is that enough?
“I think that there need to be a lot more restrictions in place because of [COVID-19],” White said. “I think the government has resumed life as normal and has completely forgotten the fact that [COVID-19] is still rampant in the country. I think that people need to be quarantining, people shouldn’t be back at work in non-essential places, businesses shouldn’t be open, you shouldn’t be able to go into a furniture store right now, these are not essential businesses that you need to be at. Yes, people are going to be out of work, but the government should be subsidizing that like every first-world country has.”
White demands more action from the government while Goodpaster goes directly to the public asking them to hold tight for just awhile longer as she feels the end is near.
“I think people need to just realize we are still technically in a quarantine period,” Goodpaster said. “I know it’s been a long, long time but people are starting to act like [COVID-19] isn’t a thing anymore and I think they to just wait a little bit longer because the vaccines are finally getting out there.”
Even though Paule would be willing to do anything to go back to normal, seeing how citizens reacted to a lockdown, he does not feel that it should be our countries next step.
“I’m not really for a lockdown because no one really did that the first time,” Paule said. “I’d be down for anything that works, I just don’t think a whole lot of people have the patience for it... I think they just want to continue back with their lives to be honest… Even my work is talking about a no-mask policy.”
If you or a loved one are interested the vaccine, visit the Kansas website Find My Vaccine to discover vaccination centers near you.
By Kiara Stamati