Story by Raquel Lopez
Like many other issues in theUnited States, COVID-19 vaccines have become divisive and politicized. Additionally, with the Pfizer vaccine being fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the possibility of vaccine mandates in public spaces is increasingly becoming a reality.
Currently, all evidence points to the conclusion that the vaccines are both safe and effective. Studies by the CDC show that all approved vaccines provide strong protection against COVID, including the delta variant of the virus. According to theCDC, unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID than their fully vaccinated peers.
At JeffersonvilleHigh School, while vaccines are not required, they are recommended. At the time of this publication, the policy has recently changed. When school initially started, vaccinated students were not required to quarantine if they were asymptomatic and had proof of vaccination on record; on the other hand, unvaccinated students would have to quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they tested positive or negative. On Aug. 24, Greater Clark County Schools announced that the quarantine time could be decreased to eight days if the student had proof of a negative test result. On Aug. 31, following the Indiana Department of Health guidelines, schools were no longer required to contact trace if a student were to test positive regardless of vaccination status.
Meanwhile, views on COVID vaccines vary among Jeff High students. While there are students who are clearly for or against vaccination, some students are undecided. Senior Claire Storz is pro-vaccination. “I always hear or see the numbers of deaths due to COVID and I want people to get vaccinated so we don’t have to lose loved ones. Or so I don’t have to hear people complaining about the mask mandate. I highly encourage it [getting theCOVID vaccine], especially if someone they know is immunocompromised. It can help protect them as well”
On the other hand, Senior Vaughndez Banes is against the COVID-19 vaccine. “I feel like theCOVID vaccine was rushed and I personally had COVID and I was sick like a lot of other people but it never got too bad,” Banes said, before adding, “and knowing the COVID vaccine won’t prevent COVID, only help with symptoms just isn’t enough to push me over the edge.”
In California, students attending Los Angeles Unified Public Schools are now required to be vaccinated by the end of the calendar year, according to CNN. Banes says that if vaccinations were to be mandated in Greater Clark County schools, he would transfer schools. “The way I see it is, if your mask works so well, why are you worried about mine. Same thing with the vaccine,” Banes explains.
Freshman Savannah Monroe is in the middle of the debate, supporting them in certain circumstances. Monroe explains that she feels as if maybe they were developed too fast. However, she also said, “But I definitely think a vaccine was needed due to the rising cases. But overall, I’m for the vaccines but I think they [scientists and the government] should prove the effectiveness and safety to convince the public to get them”