Since March, the United States has gone through one of the worst pandemics in over a century. The COVID- 19 pandemic has affected nearly 15 million people and claimed the lives of over 280 thousand. With cases surging again during the holidays, a vaccine is necessary to reduce the pandemic’s effects significantly. Fortunately, health companies worldwide have created relatively effective vaccines at a rapid pace, and a limited supply of them could reach patients by the end of the year.
Companies Moderna and AstraZeneca are all in the process of mass-producing these vaccines to the general public, as they are currently awaiting authorization by the FDA. Meanwhile, Pfizer’s vaccine has already been authorized by the FDA and is being distributed to healthcare workers nationwide. Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have effectiveness levels of over 90%, and the AstraZeneca vaccine has an effectiveness level between 60% and 90%. The vaccines will go out to people determined by a government plan. These plans vary from state to state, but they divide people into groups based on potential exposure to the virus.
In Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly states that around 150,000 doses of the vaccine will be distributed by the end of the year. According to the state plan, healthcare workers and long term care residents are the first group of people to receive the vaccine, followed by people 65 and older, and then the general population. However, teachers are not exclusively mentioned in the first. Teachers at Olathe North say that they would like to be directly included in the second group as well.
“I’m hopeful that teachers will be at least in the second phase,” teacher Amanda Fleetwood says.
Still, many people are skeptical of getting the vaccine. According to a recent survey done by the Pew Research Center, 51% of all participants say they want to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, while 49% say they do not wish to receive it.
Students at Olathe North are also very divided about receiving the vaccine. Some, such as sophomore Khloe Wright-Belt, are opposed to getting the vaccine now but might want to receive it in the future.
“As of right now, I don’t want it because it’s still very early on,…but as it is more developed, then I would most likely get the vaccine.”
Others, such as senior Mridhula Ganesh, say that they would like to receive the vaccine.
“I think it will help bring society back to normal.”
Overall, while both people at Olathe North and across the nation have mixed opinions about receiving this new vaccine, the development of this vaccine will increase as time goes on.