The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Race for the Vaccine: Immunity versus Morality?

WIS Students and Faculty Receiving their Vaccinations (Courtesy of Featured Individuals)

WIS juniors and seniors have managed to acquire their vaccine shots due to the increasing availability of doses for younger people in the DMV area.  However, there is doubt over whether healthy teenagers should be among the first to transition back to ‘normal.’ There is also controversy over those who may have sped up their vaccine process through dishonesty.

Since April 19, Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for those between the ages of 16-17. It consists of 2 shots, administered 21 days apart. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now approved the Pfizer vaccine for those between the ages of 12 and 15. 

The prospect of vaccination immediately led many upperclassmen to try and receive the vaccine. 

“My dad really wanted me to get vaccinated, just so I could be safe,” junior Olivia Matuschek said. 

Story continues below advertisement

After hearing from her neighbours of a CVS that often had spare shots around closing time, Matuschek decided to pay it a visit. However, she found that they only had Moderna, which is only approved for those over the age of 18. However, the first CVS recommended another, where Matuschek managed to get the last shot of the day.  

“[I] was really lucky,” Matuschek, who is now fully-vaccinated, said. However, she does admit that,  “the way I got vaccinated was…maybe not a normal experience.”

Dishonesty is another pressing issue on the topic of vaccination. Examples of this include lying about fake conditions or exaggerating how at risk someone is from the virus in order to receive the vaccine slightly earlier. 

Matuschek argues that being dishonest is “taking advantage of the system.” 

With more students getting vaccinated, many have wondered whether WIS should mandate vaccines for eligible students in the upcoming school year.

“If you’re able to get vaccinated, then I definitely think that we should encourage [vaccination], but I’m not sure if a mandate…is a good idea because I know some people will have strong [allergic] reactions [to the vaccine],” said Matuschek about the hypothetical situation.

Matuschek revealed her relief at getting vaccinated, saying that “COVID has affected me a lot and I would rather get back to normal as soon as possible.” 

Junior Zach Roberts, who has spent the majority of the school year online, was able to get the vaccine earlier than most people his age. Being a lifeguard for the past three summers, the State of Maryland qualifies Roberts as an essential health worker.

After his dad got him an appointment through the Department of Health, Roberts drove an hour and a half away to Regency Stadium in Waldorf, Maryland. Roberts received his first dose of Pfizer on March 21, and does not regret it.

“I feel better about hanging out with people than before because I’m [no longer at as much of] a risk,” Roberts revealed. The vaccine allows him to begin the process of returning to ‘normal.’

“I still wear a mask everywhere…until everyone is vaccinated or a certain threshold [is reached],” Roberts said about the loosening of COVID-19 precautionary measures. Being fully-vaccinated has certainly eased a certain worry in him about interacting with the outside world. 

Like Roberts, junior Maya Lopez drove a few hours away to acquire her first dose. The only appointment she found was at a CVS at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, over 100 miles away.

“I wanted to save [the vaccine] for other people [first],” revealed Lopez, despite qualifying for an earlier vaccination due to a chronic condition. D.C. has been allowing 16 and 17 year olds with medical conditions to receive the vaccine since March 1, which was over a month before Lopez received her first dose. 

Her opinion on those getting the vaccine dishonestly overwhelmingly encourages the unity that this pandemic has offered. 

“Throughout this whole [pandemic], people have been rallying for being in this together. I think [people inventing conditions to speed up their vaccinations is] really sad… and a bit selfish,” said Lopez. 

Reflecting her optimism, Lopez saw the benefits of her visit to Charlottesville. “It was cool, because it turned into a little college tour,” she said. 

On the other hand, senior Ester Luna had a very different vaccination experience. Instead of receiving Pfizer like the other WIS students, Luna benefitted from the fact that she was now 18 and eligible to receive the one-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. 

On a casual Friday evening, Luna learnt from her grade group chat that a mass vaccination initiative was happening at the Arlington Ethiopian community centre, with no pre-registration requirements or Virginia residency. Excited, Luna travelled there the following day to get her one and only shot.   

“I trust the people who developed it and I understand the concerns with it being recalled…but as many people have said, the odds of getting COVID are exponentially higher,” Luna said regarding the fact that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was recently recalled then reinstated over the potential but statistically unlikely risk of blood clots.

“[Being fully vaccinated] is not an excuse to become more lenient with mask wearing and social distancing. People are getting lulled into a false sense of security [with vaccines] which shouldn’t be the case at all because just when you start to let go and be less cognizant of the danger is probably when you’re going to get [the virus],” Luna said. 

She believes that restrictions should only be loosened when completely safe. This is especially relevant to her case, as there is no set date for reaching full immunity with the J&J vaccine.   

“[WIS] should strongly consider [mandatory vaccination],” Luna said, despite attending university next year. She believes that this would benefit the community, and many colleges are already enforcing this obligation.

Overall, the increase in the numbers of student vaccinations paints a strong picture of hope for the future of the WIS community.  

By Olivia Young

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *