Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine? This question has sparked much controversy and strong opinions across the United States since the initial authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine. Unfortunately, despite boundless evidence from scientific experts, the effectiveness of the three Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved vaccines has constantly been put into question by Americans who feel that getting the shot would harm them more than contracting the virus. Ultimately, however, it is necessary that all those who are eligible to receive the vaccine do so in order to protect not only their own health and safety, but also to keep those around them in good health as well, for the vaccine does protect against the virus and could be the key to ending the pandemic for good.
Currently, everyone over the age of 12 is able to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they so choose. Although it’s strongly recommended by health officials to get vaccinated, many people throughout the country have chosen not to get the vaccine. However, getting the vaccine will greatly reduce the risk of catching and spreading the virus. It will also save the lives of individuals with underlying medical conditions who are at higher risk of dying at the hands of the virus.
The vaccine will also increase the possibility of returning to some sense of normalcy. After getting vaccinated, it’s easier and more accessible to resume normal life and do things like go out to dinner, watch movies in theaters, and travel.
Although the vaccine has yet to be fully approved for those under 11 years of age, it has been tested to be safe for all those who are eligible to receive it. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA continue to track the effects on those who have gotten the vaccination in order to maintain and improve their data. If the vaccine weren’t safe, health officials would not fight so passionately for individuals to receive it, and the government would not have allowed it to be released in the first place.
Many conspiracy theories have spread regarding the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, generating doubts among individuals across the country. According to YouGov America, 89% of people who won’t get vaccinated think the government isn’t properly testing the vaccine, 62% think that the COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility, and 50% believe the COVID-19 vaccine is a vessel for the government to microchip the population. Other rumors have spread about the vaccine altering DNA or “causing autism.” While many of these theories have been quickly debunked, (for example, autism is something that one is born with, not something someone can develop over time), social media has made it extremely easy for this misinformation to spread.
It is important for teens, especially at KO, to consider the vaccine as a way to protect the community and to keep us from having to return to online learning. Many teens still believe that this pandemic simply doesn’t affect them and that it only affects those with underlying medical conditions and the elderly. As the group with the lowest vaccination rate, with only 46% of 12-17 year olds being vaccinated, we are still at risk to be severely affected by the virus. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500 children under 17 have died as a result of the pandemic. Therefore, it is imperative that we as KO students set a precedent and encourage those around us who are unvaccinated to get the vaccine.
The country will only be able to truly beat COVID-19 if everyone gets the vaccine. Without it, the virus will continue to spread, endangering not only the unvaccinated but everyone around them. So get vaccinated, and convince others to do the same.