Vax-Teen: Teenagers Now Eligible for Covid Vaccine
by Havann Brown, staff writer
May 2021 – Vaccine eligibility has expanded across the United States. All Ohioans ages 16 and older can receive the COVID vaccine. The Ohio Department of Health said those aged 16 and 17 must have parental consent for any vaccine and must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, shortly after, former President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, prompting states to issue stay-at-home orders and mask mandates. Scientific teams around the world immediately went to work to develop successful vaccines. Nine months later, on Dec. 11, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the first emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed in the U.S.
Since Pfizer, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have been authorized for emergency use. According to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the time of writing, over 213 million vaccines have been administered in the United States. The J&J and Moderna vaccines are recommended for individuals over the age of 18 and the companies have begun testing the vaccine in adolescents.
The Pfizer vaccine is recommended for anyone 16 and older. The company announced it submitted clinical trial data for adolescents 12 to 15 years old to the FDA for emergency use authorization. The results show the vaccine is 100% effective in preventing all symptoms of the virus after completing the trial with 2,300 adolescent participants. KHOU reported that Pfizer aims to offer the COVID vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds by next school year.
Some students at Bio-Med Science Academy are currently eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. While some individuals shared their plans to get the vaccine, others shared their concerns and feelings of apprehension.
When asked about his opinions on the vaccine, Junior Josh Mudd stated plainly, “It’s a waste. Covid is not scary and it’s not that bad in my opinion, because I’ve had it.”
Sophomore Tessa Wood stated, “I have received my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I decided to get vaccinated so I can help protect my family and feel safer at school!”
Juniors Kelsea Cooper and Dennis Bunner shared their vaccination plans.
Bunner intends to get the vaccine soon. He clarified, “My reason for wanting the vaccine is probably less for me and more for my grandma. I am the only one in my family who has not gotten the vaccine and I have not been able to visit her. I think she would feel more comfortable if I were vaccinated.”
Cooper received her first dose of the vaccine on April 14. “It seemed like the most logical thing to do,” she said. “There was no scientific or religious reason as to why I should not get it.
“I see why some people are wary of getting the vaccine because it’s so new but at the same time, other vaccines were also very new when people got them. I can also see how some people are misinformed because they do not understand the science behind it, but if you just take the time to research it for yourself, you could find a website that explains it to you in layman’s terms,” she added.
Juniors Codi Goldsboro and Brian Crum decided against getting the vaccine.
Goldsboro explained, “I am not really planning on getting it. It is nothing against the system. I just believe that it is too soon to get it. I am still young so if I do get Covid, I know my body can break it down easier than some elderly. I would rather not get it to save that vaccine for someone my age that has health issues because they are at a higher risk.”
Crum stated, “The reason that I don’t want to get it is because I’ve seen my grandpa get blood clots and I heard on the news that some of the vaccines were causing blood clots so that pushed me away from getting vaccinated…I also don’t really like needles so if I don’t have to get it, I’m not going to.”
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was recently put on pause when a rare blood-clotting disorder emerged in six recipients after 6.8 million doses were administered in the U.S. Officials launched an investigation into the clotting issue during the 10-day hold. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accepted an advisory panel’s decision that the benefits of the shots outweighed the risks, which will put the vaccine back into circulation in the coming days.
Two current seniors offered their views on the vaccine.
Emily Richmond wrote, “I might get the vaccine eventually, but at this point, no, I do not want to get it. My family and I have already gotten the virus. We have absolutely no idea how we got it because we were following all of the health and safety recommendations (mask-wearing, hand sanitizer, et cetera). Whether or not I have the antibodies to help protect me from potential reinfection, I don’t know. This virus is new and we are learning more and more about it each and every day and I have heard that if you get the virus you may or may not have lasting immunity. I try my best to make an informed factual decision about things like this.
“In addition to that, this vaccine, although it has gone through extensive testing, is very new and I am just concerned with what the effects will be in the years to come, whereas with other vaccines that have been around for a long time, we know how they affect us in the long run and what their potential side effects are,” she added.
Mario Frisone plans on receiving the vaccine. He noted, “I think the general consensus of both the public as well as health officials is that the COVID-19 shot, whether from any of the large distributors, is the best tool to fight in the direction of a more normalized world.
“It would be reasonable to say that I and many others have felt the pressure of some degree to get the vaccine. It has seemingly been a topic at the forefront of all informative and social media platforms. Now that we have arrived at the stage of COVID relief where young adults and more of the populace are able to be vaccinated, the expectation is that everyone who is able should be getting it. I personally agree that this pressure is generally positive and helpful. That being said, I will always maintain the position that everyone has the right to deny whatever medical treatment they participate in, for whatever reason they see fit. It is important to understand that although you may protest vaccines to any level, the repercussions will likely affect more people than yourself,” he continued.
Bio-Med offered a student vaccination clinic through Akron Children’s Hospital on April 30, with the second dose scheduled for May 21.