Photo by Jenny Gerdes
School Nurse Kathy Gross said that on Friday, April 23, over 200 people signed up to receive their first dose of the COVID vaccine at Nazareth and most of them were students. The announcement came early last week that any student 16-years and older would be eligible to receive the vaccine as long as they had parental consent.
According to Gross, one of the benefits of receiving the vaccine is that students who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus. “Hopefully by next school year, all students will have had the opportunity to be vaccinated,” added Gross.
When asked if Nazareth will require all students to be vaccinated against COVID in the future, Gross said, “It is only approved as an emergency vaccine right now, but if the FDA fully approves it later, they may require it. It would not surprise me if it is mandated.”
27.2% of Americans are fully vaccinated as of April 21, 2021 and worldwide, only 2.9% are fully vaccinated. The long term goal is that the population reaches herd immunity. According to the Center for Disease Control, “Herd immunity means that enough people in a community are protected from getting a disease because they’ve already had the disease or they’ve been vaccinated. Herd immunity makes it hard for the disease to spread from person to person, and it even protects those who cannot be vaccinated, like newborns.”
Senior Melisa Rodriguez said she got the vaccine to be on the safe side. She wants to be sure that she protects her more vulnerable grandparents who will be visiting. “I feel confident for the future for this whole pandemic. It will be good to go back to how things were,” Rodriguez said.
Senior Grace McGovern also received the vaccine on Friday. McGovern and many of her family members are considered essential workers and she is one of the last in her family to be vaccinated. While her family encouraged her to get the vaccine, she sees the personal benefit. “Honestly, I got it just because I do work in an essential business and I just felt more comfortable having it,” she said. McGovern is looking forward to things getting back to normal and being able to take part in some of her favorite activities this summer:“Hopefully being able to go in larger crowds this summer, concerts, fun things like that.”
Like McGovern, Sophomore Braden Ferguson is one of the last in his family to be vaccinated, so he wasn’t apprehensive about receiving it on Friday. Mostly, he is excited to have more freedom once he is fully vaccinated. He said, “Well, now that I have this shot I feel that it will be easier to go places.” In the minutes immediately after receiving the vaccine, Ferguson said he felt good and that the shot “didn’t hurt at all.”