Editor’s note: This week’s Future View asks students whether they plan to take the Covid-19 vaccine. Next week we’ll ask, “Reflecting on this unusual year as it comes to a close and vaccines are distributed, what has your experience of the pandemic taught you?” Students should click here to submit opinions of fewer than 250 words before Dec. 29. The best responses will be published that night.
I am taking the vaccine as soon as it’s available, despite its possible side effects. As an international student who longs to come back to the U.S. to study in person, taking the vaccine is a necessary protection for the campus community and me.
Learning remotely in a country with extensive internet censorship and that is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Time is no bed of roses. During the fall semester, to circumvent the Chinese internet block, I had to purchase access to two virtual private networks. Every day, I woke up in the evening and went to bed at noon to fit the schedule of my online classes. I was constantly deprived of sleep.
I learned a lot during my semester of online classes. Professors held up their academic standards, and I still felt challenged by the courses. But it was my freshman year. I missed so many opportunities to become a real part of my college community and American society.
Getting vaccinated is one of the many things I need to do before coming back to campus. I hope to get it early and come to the U.S. as soon as possible.
—Oufan Hai, University of Rochester, computer science
Do You Trust Washington?
I won’t be taking the vaccine. Politicians have created an immense amount of distrust in our society by bickering throughout the pandemic about which political party is better.
I think people should do what they personally think is best. Get a vaccine if it makes you less fearful of the virus. If you’re concerned about side effects, don’t get one.
I am not an anti-vaxxer, but I am anti-politicians telling me what to put in my body. I am not going to listen to them, because they don’t even listen to themselves. These politicians put rules in place for citizens to follow and then they themselves go and break them.
With all the hostility and fighting going on in modern-day America, I have lost faith in our government. I can see that Washington and state capitals are full of narcissists fighting over who gets power.
For me, the yet unproven Covid-19 vaccine looks a lot like our government: unreliable.
—Alexander Schimka, Loyola University of Chicago, political science and history
You Could Be One in a Million
This summer I fell severely ill due to an exposure to toxic mold. I was forced to drop out of college for the semester and had trouble eating, sleeping and even keeping my heart rate stable for months. I haven’t fully recovered. I learned the hard way that the one-in-a-million health-destroying scenario can happen to anyone, including me. I’m not interested in repeating the experience should I contract coronavirus in my weakened state.
Vaccines are a key tool that eradicated past epidemics like polio. This vaccine will do the same for the coronavirus, but only if everyone who is able elects to receive it.
To my fellow young people: I used to think I was invincible, too. I believed serious illness couldn’t touch me because I was young and healthy. The past six months have proved me wrong in a painful way. Do everything you can to protect your health, including getting vaccinated. Take my word for it: If you don’t have your health, you have nothing at all.
—Noah Bongiovanni, University of Notre Dame, pre-health studies and piano
Help Bring On Ordinary Times
I will get the Covid-19 vaccine because it is the closest thing to a “magic bullet” in our arsenal to eradicate the virus. I read the entire public FDA report on both the Moderna and
vaccines and I trust them. Now I want to convince my peers to take the vaccine too.
I am 20 and healthy. I know I will likely show no symptoms if infected. A lot of people my age feel relief about that, but all it brings me is guilt. I do not want to be a “superspreader.” Asymptomatic spread is a real risk, though some of my fellow students act as if it isn’t. For those of my peers flocking to bars as if these are ordinary times instead of a deadly pandemic: Stop being selfish. Do the right thing and get the vaccine. Turn your fantasy of “ordinary times” into a reality.
—Sophia Criscione, Gettysburg College, political science
A Miracle of Money
Yes, I will get vaccinated as soon as possible because it is safe and effective. It is understandable to wonder about the risk and value of a vaccine that was developed in under a year when it historically requires more than 10 years. But vaccine creation is often slow because of financial, not medical, risk.
Vaccines are developed in increasingly expensive stages. Considering that about 66% of vaccine candidates fail during clinical trials, pharmaceutical companies need to be deliberate on which candidates to carry into subsequent phases of development, or risk losing hundreds of millions of dollars.
To alleviate this financial risk, world governments and charitable foundations infused the pharmaceutical industry with billions of dollars to develop a spectrum of vaccine candidates and help bankroll clinical trials. After the completion of their clinical trials, the efficacy and safety data are evaluated by independent medical experts and the FDA, as with all other vaccines.
Gold-standard randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled studies have shown Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines to be safe and 95% effective. The speed at which these vaccines were developed is a reflection of scientific innovation and massive investments—not a compromise in efficacy or safety.
—Christopher Grivas, Georgetown University School of Medicine (M.D.)
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