Not All Unvaccinated Are Anti-Vax

Some Students Can’t Get Vaccine

There have been hundreds to thousands of new COVID-19 cases every week, and most related hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated. Before people under 12 were permitted to be vaccinated, adolescents were the largest age group least likely to get the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

While there are unvaccinated students, whether out of nervousness or other concerns, those aren’t the only reasons. Sophomore Addison Miller said she couldn’t get the vaccine for months after it was released. 

“I’m now vaccinated, but I wasn’t allowed to because of my autoimmune disease,” Miller said. “They were afraid the Covid shot would do something and spike my problem, so I had to go through my rheumatologist, my cardiologist, my normal family doctor, and I had to get all of them approving me to get it, which took a good two months.” 

In February 2021 while waiting for approval, she was diagnosed with COVID-19.  Miller said she developed Premature Ventricular Contractions, a condition where an extra heartbeat disrupts its regular rhythm. Miller’s family didn’t know if the vaccine would do more harm than good.

Other students, like senior Kori Matlock, weren’t unable to get vaccinated because their parents wouldn’t allow them to. Matlock said she had to wait months until she turned 18 to get vaccinated, and it was against her parents’ wishes. She said while she  doesn’t hold the same beliefs as they do, she can understand their concerns.

“A lot of Black parents don’t want to get it,” Matlock said. “The Black community is very against it. Not all of them, but a lot. And I think it’s just because we’ve been through so much, we don’t trust the government.”

The COVID-19 vaccine was free for people ages 5 and up. Pediatrician Melanie Lively, who worked at Healthcare for Children, administered the vaccine to children. Lively said she took the vaccine and the booster shot for the safety of her family and community. When speaking on the anxieties and concerns adolescents have regarding the vaccine, she offered reassurance.

“I can tell anyone that may be afraid this: over 450 million doses of the vaccine have been given in the U.S. alone,” Lively said. “They continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring process in U.S. history. This vaccine is incredibly safe and incredibly effective, as we now have hospitals filling up with individuals that were convinced that they didn’t need it.” 

The United States surpassed 900,000 COVID deaths. Hundreds of millions have contracted it, with countless survivors suffering long-term effects. Medical professionals advocated for those who can to get vaccinated.

“I sincerely hope that trust will be restored in the medical field and that more and more people will make the choice to protect themselves,” Lively said. “We can get through this together.”