To Vaccinate or to Not to Vaccinate

As the sun comes out and summer is imminent, questions concerning the vaccine and the future with it arise. There are many students who wish to voice their opinions on the vaccine and their experience with it. While it is important to note that everyone reacts differently to the vaccine and everyone respectfully has different opinions on the vaccine, certain students can provide their experience in having both doses, having one dose, and not having the vaccine yet. 

A student at Ramapo who had the second dose of Pfizer, Alexandra Torrocca, was interviewed about her experience with the vaccine and its side effects. She says that “The day after my second dose of vaccine I had a fever of 102 degrees with really bad chills and my body was aching a lot. I felt very weak and could barely move my arms. These symptoms lasted for about 24 hours. The day after this I experienced a headache but besides that I was doing a lot better. I got the vaccine because I wanted to feel safer about doing everyday activities like shopping and seeing my circle of friends. I also got the vaccine because I want to visit my grandparents with less fear of possibly spreading COVID. I feel that it was worth it to get the vaccine so that I mentally feel more safe and physically protected. Although the symptoms I experienced were extreme, they only lasted about two days which I would say is worth it to hopefully prevent the spread of COVID.” It is obvious that Alexandra is very happy to have gotten the vaccine, and that is something she has in common with other students. 

Another student at Ramapo, Angela Delano, is in the midst of her vaccine venture, for she has gotten her first shot and explains how her “Arm was just a little sore like with any other shot. I got the vaccine to do my part and get everything as close to normal as fast as possible. I think the vaccine is worth it because of the protection against COVID and two weeks post dose two you don’t have to worry about contact tracing.” Like Alexandra, Angela is happy to do her part in preventing the spread of COVID in hopes of getting everything back to pre-virus. 

When Kailey Crotty, a student at Ramapo who has not gotten the vaccine yet, was asked about it, she says that she “Would like to get the vaccine sometime soon. I do have some concerns about the long-term effects because the vaccine could cause issues years later, but I feel like the positives outweigh the negatives. My parents have concerns about how it may cause infertility, but I don’t feel the vaccine will cause that. The vaccine would help me in my everyday life by helping me feel more safe and secure when with other people. I also have many relatives that are very scared to get the virus because of health issues, so me getting the vaccine will also help them feel safer around me. I think the vaccine is worth getting because if we all begin getting the vaccine we will be able to begin returning to a normal state. Hopefully the vaccine will be able to get us back to our old lives at some point soon”. This diverse range of opinion and experience with the vaccine gives a glimpse into the different reasons for getting or not getting the vaccine. While there are many concerns about the vaccine, a large one is “will the vaccine cause infertility?” The simple answer is no. The origin of this myth is most likely from Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg and Mike Yeadon who signed a petition with the EMA (European Medicines Agency), anti-vaccine propagandists, to halt vaccine operations due to unsupported claims that the vaccine causes infertility. When later interviewed about their claims, Dr. Wodarg admits that they had done no experiments to support their claim and that it was built off of a hypothesis. This false information was quickly picked up by anti-vaccinators/maskers and scattered across social media only spreading more unnecessary fear (HealthLine). 

Because of concerns about infertility occurring as a result of the vaccine, school Nurse Sikora and Nurse Elias were consulted about their thoughts on this rumor: “The claim comes from the fact Pfizer & Moderna’s vaccines cause our immune systems to make antibodies to the “spike” protein on the coronavirus. And the unsubstantiated concern is these antibodies could attack a similar protein, called syncytin, that is made in the placenta during a pregnancy. Furthermore, the body naturally generates its own antibodies to fight off coronavirus and there have been no signs of increased miscarriages in pregnant women who become sick with COVID.” Clearly, those concerned about infertility because of the vaccine should not be, as there is no evidence that this is a side effect. Of course, any vaccine has its unprecedented risks, but there is no proof that this is one of them. As the new school year approaches, many schools have a requirement that all students are vaccinated before starting the 2021-2022 academic year. Because this topic is so debatable, the nurses pointed out that “getting vaccinated is a family and personal decision and they should consult their physicians about being inoculated. At this point, the state has not mandated public school students to be vaccinated for COVID this fall. We are seeing colleges and universities requiring proof of vaccines this fall …the tricky part is can the government mandate public schools and employers to require vaccines that are only approved for emergency use? It may come to that, but exemptions will most likely be available.” Finally, the advice Nurse Elias and Nurse Sikora would give to those apprehensive about taking the vaccine would be that “if a student is hesitant, they should consult with their physicians. A good rule of thumb is always: do the risks outweigh the benefits? And that is the challenge with a new virus and new vaccines, but each person needs to feel comfortable with their decision.” All in all, this insight is incredibly important, as everyone has the right to decide. The vaccine is highly effective and will ensure that hospitalizations will not occur if a recipient does catch COVID. However, if someone already had COVID, the side effects of the vaccine are exacerbated. Anxiety concerning the vaccine is completely understandable, but hopefully knowing the benefits of it will help those struggling with their decision. The COVID vaccine will not only protect you, but contribute to the end of this horrible pandemic.

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