It has now officially been a year since lockdown, and luckily, numbers are dropping as more and more people get vaccinated. That said, there is still a weekly average of over 60,000 cases, meaning Americans should still be careful and practice social distancing. Before yesterday, many younger Americans did not know when they might be vaccinated, and with many rumors circulating, some may not even want to. However, with President Biden's announcement that all adult Americans will be eligible to be vaccinated by May 1, here are 10 reasons students should take advantage of this opportunity and get vaccinated.
1. It’s safePhoto by Kobby Mendez on Unsplash
This is the big thing I see about the vaccine: that because it was released relatively quickly, and therefore may have appeared rushed, it's unsafe. However, people should consider that the entire world went into lockdown, and so of course the necessary funds were much more easily acquired, and every scientist that could work on this was doing so, thus it's only natural that the progress would come about faster. Secondly, if it really was rushed and fake, it wouldn't have taken nearly a year for the first vaccines to be approved, given that many people were over the lockdown last May, and some never even locked down to begin with. Finally, the research for this vaccine did not start from nothing as there have been hundreds of other coronaviruses, including the common cold, and the 2002 SARS epidemic, so researchers had prior knowledge to work off of.
2. No like, it’s actually safePhoto by courtney coles on Unsplash
There are also bizarre rumors circulating that the vaccine will implant a chip in you, or that it contains fetal tissues, mercury, pork products, live coronavirus and more. Luckily, none of these things are in the vaccine! The vaccines work with mRNA, which means they do not contain any COVID, just merely snippets of genetic material to help fight of the disease, sugar, salt, and fat. And if you’re an American who isn’t comfortable having sugar, salt, or fat in their body, this may not be the country for you.
3. It does not mess with your DNA at allPhoto by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
The first two COVID vaccines contain a type of genetic material called mRNA. Not going to lie, at first that confused me, but I did a little research and it now makes more sense. Typically, vaccines have placed an inactive or weakened version of a germ into our bodies, in order to teach our cells how to fight it off. mRNA vaccines are merely a different approach to helping our bodies fight off disease. mRNA vaccines insert a tiny bit of basically instructions for our cells, that teach them to make a “spike protein,” the same protein found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. As our cells display the unfamiliar protein, our immune system begins creating antibodies and building an immune response, learning how to fight off future similar proteins they might get if you come in contact with the virus. As the mRNA does not go in the nucleus, where DNA is stored, it does not effect your DNA.
4. It keeps you from getting severe symptomsPhoto by engin akyurt on Unsplash
The COVID vaccines have all proven effective in preventing symptoms, specifically severe illness and death, in vaccinated people. Even if you are young and healthy, there can still be severe reactions to the virus, even and including death, plus the danger of passing the virus along to someone who is more at risk, and you would risk the additional unknowns around long term effects. While some vaccinated individuals who come in contact with the virus may experience some small symptoms, the risk of contracting the virus at all lowers with the vaccine, and it is significantly less likely the symptoms will be severe or very dangerous.
5. Studies are starting to find that it often stops you from getting COVID at allPhoto by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash
it is still entirely possible to get COVID after getting the vaccine, thus it is important when vaccinated to still be mindful of CDC guidelines and wear masks in public. However, studies are showing increasingly positive news on this front, as the vaccine causes you to allow fewer viral particles, therefore giving you fewer to pass on, implying that the vaccine likely gives you reduced ability to transmit the virus. Additionally, it's very difficult to prove sterilizing immunity or immunity where those vaccinated cannot pass on the virus at all, but more and more studies are finding that some vaccinated individuals who come into contact with the virus do not contract any trace of the virus at all. The CDC has even announced that vaccinated people do not need to quarantine or get tested if they've been in contact with someone who has the virus unless the vaccinated individual develops symptoms. There is not enough research for vaccinated people to count on full immunity yet, but by May 1st hopefully, there will be more information, and the trends are looking positive.
6. You can hang out indoors without masks
Yes! The CDC has announced a list of things you can do when you become vaccinated, which includes gathering indoors with other vaccinated people unmasked and gathering indoors with unvaccinated people from the same household or bubble. While vaccinated people should still avoid public large gatherings, international travel, and should follow distancing and mask guidelines in public, it is now officially safe for vaccinated individuals to finally see family you haven’t seen in a year, or friends you’ve only seen from a distance.
7. Temporary side effects are normal for vaccinationsPhoto by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Some people worry about the side effects that may occur after getting the vaccine, and it is possible for individuals to develop a headache, short fever, sore arm, or chills, especially after receiving the second dose. However, side effects are perfectly normal for vaccines, and these are purely temporary. The meningitis vaccine, for example, may cause redness or pain where the shot was administered, and even a small fever, similarly to the COVID vaccine.
8. Having COVID once does NOT give you immunityPhoto by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash
Many people think that getting COVID once provides immunity, but the CDC cautions that no one really knows how long natural immunity lasts, with it tentatively numbered at around 90 days. It is entirely possible to be re-infected with the virus, so receiving the vaccine is really the only way to safely achieve relative reliable immunity.
9. The vaccine can prevent you from multiple strands and mutationsPhoto by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
New strains of the virus have notably been popping up in places like the UK, Brazil, and South Africa, but the vaccine has so far proven effective in protecting against new strains. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are around 95% effective (notably the flu vaccine is only 40-60% effective each year, as 95% is very high for a vaccine), and while this number lowers in effect against the other strains, it remains high in preventing hospitalization and death, and they can still help halt the new strains in their tracks, especially when partnered with social distancing and mask guidelines. Even though there are multiple strains of the same virus, with the vaccine you are still significantly more protected.
10. It’s free!Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash
It really is! No one can be charged for the vaccine or denied without health care, as the federal government is entirely paying for the vaccine. This is because experts estimate between 70 and 90% of people will have to receive the vaccine in order to safely facilitate herd immunity, or when a large enough percentage of people are protected against a virus so that it can no longer easily spread from person to person. With absolutely no cost and the immense service you’ll be doing to yourself and everyone else around you by getting the vaccine, I heavily encourage every single person to get it as soon as they can.
Now, what's your excuse again?