By: Sophia David (Editor-in-Chief ‘21)
As of today about 10% of Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19. To prioritize members of society who need protection from the virus most, only certain groups are currently eligible to get the vaccine. Long awaited, each vaccine has been tested in rigorous randomized clinical trials and approved by the FDA. Both the Pfezer and Moderna vaccines have been found to be around 95% effective. Yet, across the nation and our own community, people have vastly contrasting views about the efficacy and safety of the new vaccine. Some plan to get it the moment it becomes available to them, others are skeptical of its safety and plan to wait, and others refuse to get it altogether.
Friend Central’s very own Kayla Foy was the first student from our school to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Because she works with the Black Doctors COVID Consortium, she was considered a front line worker. Kayla explained that The Black Doctors COVID Consortium works to test people for COVID and is “now delivering vaccines to people who are living in Philadelphia.” She continued, specifying the work she does for the organization: “I do data collection. When someone gets tested, they fill out a form about their demographics, like their gender, their ethnicity, any pre-existing conditions they have, such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. I collect that data with a group of other teen members that I work with, and we all put it into a huge database. This is in order to get data on who is getting COVID more, black people or white people, or people with pre-existing conditions.”
Kayla did not expect to get the vaccine as early as she did, getting her first dose around December 27th and the second dose around January 10th. “It was a surprise,” she said. “My dad also works with the organization, and the head of the organization Dr. Stanford sent him an email saying ‘you both are qualified to get the vaccine. If you guys want we can get you vaccinated.’” Because it was so early, Kayla says that she was “a bit hesitant at first” but ultimately decided she would get it, thinking “what’s the worst that could happen?” Upon being asked if she felt comfortable getting it, she confidently responded, “Yes, especially since my dad was also getting it.”
Kayla believes that if people who do not trust the vaccine understood the science behind the vaccine, they too would feel comfortable receiving it. “I think if you know more about vaccines and what they do biologically, you are more likely to get the vaccine because you know what it is doing in your body.”
Besides feeling especially sleepy after getting her second dose, Kayla did not experience any negative side effects. In fact, getting the first vaccine was so exciting that she felt like she had “a shot of espresso.”
Despite being nearly immune to COVID now, Kayla is still being very careful to avoid the virus. “I am vaccinated, but we have been living like this for a year, so I am so used to thinking this way.”
Hopefully, the vaccine will become available to more members of the community soon, people will learn about the science behind, and people will feel safe receiving it. “It does hurt a little bit,” Kayla confided, “but it was definitely worth it.”