COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Impacts SHS Students and Staff

By: Charlotte Foulger — Correspondent

Companies Pfizer and Moderna will be rolling out their COVID-19 vaccines beginning next week. Pfizer’s vaccine is 95% effective while Moderna’s is 94%. Students and staff at Sharon High School are generally optimistic about the vaccines, but have concerns as well. 

Massachusetts also recently released their vaccine distribution plan. Phase one which is estimated to last from December to February includes, in this order, healthcare workers working with the virus, long-term care facilities, rest homes, and assisted living facilities. It also includes police, fire, and emergency medical services, corrections and shelters, home-based health care workers, and healthcare workers not working with Covid-19. 

Phase two, which is estimated to go from February to April includes individuals with 2+ comorbidities, early education, K-12, transit, and grocery. As well as, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works, and public health workers. And lastly adults 65+ and individuals with one comorbidity. And phase three estimated from April to June is when the vaccine will be available to the general public.

School nurse Ms. Deborah Feldman says students will be required to take the vaccine next year to go back to school. “I think that both DESE and Gov. Baker want students to experience in-person learning so my gut tells me most likely there will be a mandated vaccination required for all K-12 students,” said Feldman. “This may be similar to students currently being required to take the flu vaccine.”

“I honestly think you should be required, it’s not going to hurt you,” said Freshman Zach Carmody. Because of the high success rates of the vaccines, Carmody says he thinks that’s a good reason why people should take it.

Sophomore Mridula Ravindran expressed positive views about taking the Covid-19 vaccine. Ravindran says she would take a COVID-19 vaccine. “I want to be safe from COVID-19,” said Ravindran. Regarding taking a vaccine to go back to school Ravindran says, “Of course you would have to take a vaccine to go back to school full-time.” 

“We need max safety and can’t risk others lives/health,” Ravindran said. Ravindran says having the vaccines makes her feel happy since she can see her friends again, but she says she “liked being remote and working around my own schedule.”

“The enforcement of all mandates related to health issues are monitored by school nurses,” added Feldman, so this will be her job.

Feldman says that she is  “…leary of being one of the first to get this COVID-19 vaccine.” But that since she is a healthcare worker she will have to. “I will have to trust that the Federal Government will not push a vaccine before it is deemed safe,” said Feldman.

President-elect Joe Biden is currently working on making a vaccine and treatment distribution plan for when the vaccines are approved and ready. It’s called, “Plan for the effective, equitable distribution of treatments and vaccines.” Joe Biden discussed his plan on his website. The first step to his plan is to “invest $25 billion in a vaccine manufacturing and distribution plan that will guarantee it gets to every American, cost-free.” 

Biden does not want to see politics influence the speed and safety of the vaccines. “The following 3 principles should guide us: Put scientists in charge of all decisions on safety and efficacy; publicly release clinical data for any vaccine the FDA approves; authorize career staff to write a written report for public review and permit them to appear before Congress and speak publicly uncensored,” he said. 

The last point of his plan is to “ensure everyone — not just the wealthy and well-connected — in America receives the protection and care they deserve, and consumers are not price gouged as new drugs and therapies come to market.”

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