As of April 15, all students ages 16 and older are now able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccines up to now have been reserved for essential workers and for ages 50 and older. Although students are not required to get vaccinated to attend in-person high school classes, it is an option that could make students feel more comfortable and safe. Vaccines are free and can be taken regardless of immigration or health insurance status.
There are a variety of ways that you can get an appointment for your vaccination. You can go to MyTurn.ca.gov, call the COVID-19 hotline (833) 422-4255, or go to a chain pharmacy’s website like CVS or Walgreens, which will be linked at the bottom of the article.
Appointments will not be immediately available, you might have to wait a few days in order to get a date due to the large number of people trying to get vaccinated. The vaccine you will be getting will be Pfizer, the only vaccine approved for teens so far.
Currently, the three shots available are Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen. Janssen is only one shot, while Pfizer and Moderna are two shots which should be as close to three to four weeks from the first shot, although the CDC says “your second shot may be given up to 6 weeks after the first dose, if necessary.”
For many, the vaccine serves as a reassurance.
“I wanted it to keep my family and the people around me safe,” said Emily Hellstrom, SAS senior. “I’m hoping if there is any herd immunity, I know I’m playing my part.”
After getting the vaccine, it is normal to have a few symptoms, since your body is building defenses to the vaccine. Side effects may include fever, chills, tiredness, nausea, redness, swelling, or headaches and pain. Although symptoms are normal, they should go away after a few days. You should keep track of any persistent or worsening of these symptoms and go to a doctor if they are not gone within a few days.
While the vaccine is effective against the recipient from getting sick, there is no information on how it affects spreading the virus. Precautions such as masks should still be practiced due to the lack of data .
It is important for graduating seniors to note that UCs and CalStates will require vaccination in order to attend the upcoming fall semester.
“Now that I have it, I feel hopeful that my freshman year of college will be more normal,” said Nehanda Akili, PAM senior.