A shot at ending the pandemic

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After rigorous testing to ensure safety for teens, Georgia announced COVID-19 vaccines are now accessible to all Georgians 16 and older.  With the vaccine now available to the public, rather than only essential workers, residents are applying for their shots as fast as they can hit reload browser. Excitement is flowing throughout Cherokee County as more people are receiving their doses, and the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is coming into view.  

I got the vaccine, so I can feel more comfortable doing what used to be everyday things (…) and not having to worry about the anxiety of it [COVID-19.] I have asthma, so getting COVID-19 would be hard for me. When I found out I could get the vaccine, my family and I signed up right away, Ryan Lofland, junior, said. 

The vaccine builds resistance to the COVID-19 virus, allowing for nearly forgotten freedoms to be a part of life again. Being in public and around others was little to get excited about before the pandemic, but after more than a year of masks and quarantining, eating out and hugging friends are glamorous benefits of the shot. 

I got the vaccine, so I would be able to keep myself healthy and finally be able to see my friends and family again, Emily Collins, junior, said. 

In a survey of Etowah students regarding their opinions on the vaccineover half of respondents were either vaccinated or planning to be. However, about 40 percent were concerned about how quickly the shot was developedA third of the participants have already received their vaccine and are eager to protect themselves and others to help end the pandemic. While not all Etowah students believe in the vaccine’s effectiveness, they are tired of staying inside and are ready to get some fresh air, mask free.  

“There is definitely not enough research at all, because the HIV virus has been around for a long time, and we still don’t have a vaccine, but we have a vaccine for a virus that was created in 8 months. I hope it is effective in the long run,” an anonymous student said. 

 The majority of the students who took the survey and were not planning to get the vaccine described past memories and emerging news reports of unsuccessful shots and medications. This information made them fear what the vaccine might do to them. In addition, those who reported to have stayed away from the public or are not frightened by the virus did not feel the need to sign up for the vaccineStudents receive information from countless sources parents, news channels, experiences, and more— that dictate what they choose to trust, believeand ignore.  

I believe the vaccine is extremely effectiveand definitely believe more people need to get vaccinated, and everyone at high risk certainly should. However, I don’t know if all young people who aren’t at risk would need to, especially if they tend to have adverse effects to vaccines,” an anonymous student said. 

Now that the vaccine is available to large number of Etowah studentsmany have voiced their excitement for its development, but it is still relatively unclear as to who will be getting their doses, with just over a week passing since this new opportunity. For Etowah’s underclassman feeling left out, Pfizer-BioNTech announced it will soon release their vaccine to teens aged 12 to 15 after reporting 100 percent effectiveness against COVID-19 within this age group.