Now that a vast majority of adults and elderly people who wanted or needed the COVID vaccine have been able to receive it, the youths’ time for the shot has come. On April 13, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDOH) announced that individuals 16 years of age or older are authorized to obtain the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Many students under the age of 18 were ready to get the vaccine as soon as possible, such as juniors Emily Frashure, Alexis Rinere and Madison Rhoades, who all received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination on April 19, at the Clearview Mall in Butler, PA.
The Butler Health System organized a vaccination clinic there, with the intention of aiding the community by helping speed up the process of Pennsylvanians getting the shot. The clinic possesses both the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine, but currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech shot has been approved for those ages 16 and 17. According to the Butler Health System, unemancipated minors may only receive the COVID vaccine with the consent of a parent or guardian.
Whether students believe in receiving the COVID vaccine or not, most hold similar motives for wanting to receive immunization from the virus. Many simply want life to return to normal, and feel getting vaccinated will help the community achieve that goal more quickly.
“I wanted to get the shots because I want life to go back to something normal again,” Frashure said.
Other students are more concerned with protecting themselves and those around them, whether it be their friends, family or strangers.
“What made me inclined to get it was protecting others around me, especially my parents,” Rhoades said.
Despite the numerous arguments students have given in favor of receiving the COVID vaccine, one of the most compelling justifications against the shot is the symptoms often brought on by it. Also on April 13, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggested a pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, due to a number of recipients developing blood clots following the injection. While the J&J vaccine is not available to minors, students still fear other common symptoms of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. These include dizziness, nausea, intense arm pain, coughs, fevers and more. However, not everyone has the same experience when it comes to the vaccine.
“My vaccine experience was good! It felt just like any other shot, and my only symptom was arm pain,” Rinere said.
While people’s bodily reactions to the COVID vaccines differ, many vaccinated students feel minor symptoms like nausea or arm pain are a small price to pay for a return to normalcy. Sometimes we all have to make sacrifices for the greater good, and many COVID-vaccinated students feel that getting the shot is just one valuable way to help get the community back on track.
“I would recommend this to anyone. COVID has taken a lot from everyone, and this vaccine will help us get closer to our normal lives and save others!” Rinere said.