As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available for teens and the rollout begins, the question arises of whether teens should get the vaccine.
Even though the number of COVID cases in the United States is declining, more people are wanting to get the vaccine in an effort to return to normalcy. The virus is still a concern as a result of the new variants, such as B-117, that has been introduced into the US.
Doctors are weighing in on whether they believe that teens and young adults should get the vaccine. According to University Hospitals Physician Dr. Molly Friedman, “Teens are an especially important population to get the vaccine. This is a very contagious virus so not only can teens spread it amongst themselves, but they can also spread it to a more vulnerable population”
Many contingencies, like specific demographics, influence who may want the vaccine. Summer plans, including concerts, camps, traveling, and family and friends gatherings, could all be possible if teens were vaccinated.
Walsh Jesuit senior Jessica Sicurezza, when asked about why she got the vaccine said, “I want to help things get back to normal, and by getting the vaccine I believe it is a step closer to getting the United States back to normal.”
Pfizer and Bio Med conducted successful trials on teens ages 12 to 15 to determine the effectiveness of their vaccines. This will increase the number of individuals who will be able to get vaccinated.
According to Nipunie Rajapake, a pediatric infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, “Initial trial data showed that the vaccine was close to 100% protective against systematic disease in teenagers.”
“The Food and Drug Administration on Monday [May 10] authorized use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds in the United States,” a recent New York Times article reported. Approval by the Centers for Disease Control was expected within days.
On May 4, Walsh Jesuit High School and Akron General Hospital administered the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to 86 students during 1st, 2nd, and 3rd periods in the chapel. The second dose for those students will be given on May 25.
Amelia Smith, a Walsh Jesuit senior who received the vaccine at school, commented, “I got the vaccine because I knew that at some point it would probably be required for school and also because I just felt like it was a smart decision. I wanted to keep myself safe and healthy and also keep the people around me safe and healthy.”
With the support of Akron Children’s Hospital, WJ is offering a second COVID-19 vaccine clinic at school. “With the recent FDA authorization of age 12 years and older, [more] Walsh Jesuit students are eligible to receive the Pfizer two-dose vaccine. The first dose [for students newly eligible or who missed the May 4 clinic] will be administered on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. The second dose will be administered on Tuesday, June 15, 2021,” according to school nurse Natalie Donatelli in a recent email.
The more individuals choose to get the vaccine, the closer the United States will be to herd immunity. Based on the experiences people had with the coronavirus and the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines, more individuals are choosing to get vaccinated.
“The vaccine was something very important to me because COVID affected me in so many ways personally, so the more people who get it the more life can go back to normal,” junior Francesca Glorioso said.