Is getting the COVID-19 vaccine worth it?

Renee Fohner, Staff Writer

Many people are eager to get back to their everyday pre-COVID life. Will taking the vaccine get us there?

Unlike many vaccines, the COVID vaccine, a type of Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, does not put an inactive or weakened strand of the virus into our bodies. Instead, it ‘teaches’ our cells how to fight the disease by making proteins that trigger our immune response. Our bodies then produce antibodies, preventing and protecting us against the the virus.

The vaccine is a two-shot process, and there are two different companies with shots. One company, Pfizer-BioNTech, requires the two shots to be given three weeks apart. The second company giving the vaccine is Moderna, and it should be given one month (28 days) apart. While there is no maximum interval between your first and second doses, you should not receive them earlier than the recommended time for both types.

The question most people are asking themselves is if the vaccine truly works. According to the CDC, “experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also keep you from becoming seriously ill even if you get COVID-19.”

Catherine Herr, Ocean City Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year recently received her first shot of the Moderna vaccine. “I am hoping that things can get back to normal by doing this,” stated Herr.

Jennifer Hoffman also received the vaccine. Hoffman is a speech pathologist and healthcare worker who worked throughout most of quarantine. “Getting the vaccine for myself made more sense than to not get it. I am around people at work and I want to stay as healthy as possible. The vaccine allowed that.” Hoffman got her second dosage of Moderna earlier this week.

Some of the side effects that come with getting the shots include soreness at the place of injection, fatigue, joint pain, headache, mild fevers and other aches, which both Herr and Hoffman experienced. Herr was left with a sore arm and a rash while Hoffman had “a fever, body aches, a headache, fatigue and no appetite.”

Many concerns come to mind when getting a vaccine that has not been around for long enough to know the long term side effects. Something most women are worried about is effecting their fertility. While COVID-19 has not been linked to infertility, the vaccine causes the body to fight against a protein called syncytial-1. This protein is an important component of placenta, and without it, a woman could become infertile.

This was the exact worry of Michelle Boyle, an algebra teacher at Stephen Decatur Middle School. She is skeptical about the COVID vaccine and the unknown long-term effects. She has a newborn baby at home and is unsure about the potential things she could be passing on to her baby and maybe her future children. “Normally I trust science,” stated Boyle, “however, it worries me about infertility and I am currently breastfeeding my daughter. The vaccine has not been tested on children yet, so I do not want her to absorb it through my milk.”

The world is doing a great job at taking on the task of ending the virus one step at a time. Although the vaccine brings negatives that citizens consider questionable, this is a step we must take to better our future and bring normalcy back. With hopefully many new findings, and continuing to take all necessary precautions, there is hope for a normal world again.