Published May 7, 2021
By ROSE MATHEWS
Since the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people 16 and older, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older, growing numbers of CHS students are getting vaccinated for the safety of themselves and the community.
While vaccination is mandatory in some workplaces, Carmel Unified School District nurse Deborah Taylor says schools, including CHS, cannot require the vaccine unless California state legislature requires it in schools. But senior Olivia Randazzo says she got the vaccine to protect the families for whom she babysits and herself as well as to prepare to take a gap year next year and travel.
“I feel really excited about being vaccinated,” Randazzo says, “and I feel a little less scared about being out and about.”
Senior Maria Botha also got vaccinated since she assists with classes at a local dance studio and is active in school drama and theater productions.
“I wanted to make sure when things start to open up and when opportunities for dance and theater come back I’m fully vaccinated and everyone is safe,” Botha says. “I think that will progress what we can do even further and lift mandates even faster.”
Since April 15, the vaccine has been offered in California for all people 16 or older, inspiring many students, such as sophomore Heather Albiol, to seek the vaccine. Albiol believes she is doing her part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect others, including her mom who has asthma.
Students who have received the vaccine say they have experienced only minor side effects, such as a sore arm or fatigue.
“It made me really, really tired and gave me a bit of a headache,” Botha recalls, “but other than that, it was fine.”
Some students report feeling safer and able to do more things. For instance, Randazzo recently flew to the University of Oregon, something she says she would not have felt comfortable doing before. Sophomore Margaret Johnston, who has received her first shot, also feels that her vaccination gives her peace of mind in her day-to-day life.
“It’s nice because my parents both have theirs,” Johnston says. “It definitely gives me more freedom. I feel like I’m able to go do more things.”
Senior Hunter Brophy received the vaccine early as a state parks lifeguard, saying it helped ease his parents’ worries about him seeing his friends without masks.
Students have shown a desire to return to how life was before the pandemic, and those who’ve been vaccinated think the vaccine is part of this.
“I felt that it was a duty for the people around me,” Randazzo says, “and I think that if we even want to get close to normalcy, everyone needs to do it.”