Submitted by Justin Bernstein, CMS, Grade 8
Walking down Greenwich Avenue, my friends and I hear blaring rock music. I turn around and see a short black truck driving slowly in the street. On this truck, text saying “Wake Up”, “Do You Know the Risk?”, “Is it Worth Risking Unnecessary Side Effects?”, “Will You Fight Back?”, and “Is It Really Just a Mask?” flash up on a screen with images of the COVID-19 vaccines and the American flag behind them.
I saw this truck twice on two separate occasions; each time seeing it made me more disappointed in whoever paid for the truck. Spreading misinformation and showing Anti-Vaccination propaganda to the community is just plain wrong and even dangerous.
The pandemic has affected all, on a deeper level, in an unimaginable way, changing our lives forever. Mental and physical health have both decayed and the sooner we can end this pandemic the better for everyone.
Unlike prior pandemics, science is extremely advanced and we have been offered a golden doorway to step back into our pre-pandemic lives: a vaccine.
Vaccine development is slow because “researchers must study the structure and infectious behavior of a pathogen” (Caldwell). They then “figure out how to get the human body to best produce an immune response to fight against it” (Caldwell). The vaccine is tested first using cell, animal and mathematical models, and then in human clinical trials involving thousands of participants. Only after this, can the federal approval process begin. With the COVID-19 vaccine, the government created ‘Operation Warp Speed’ which gave a $10 billion fund for vaccine research. This allowed researchers to research the materials needed and allowed the vaccines to be manufactured once the Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) was granted by the FDA. Every vaccine that we create allows us to make the next one even quicker as we can recycle methods that have worked previously. This was seen as the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine is a viral vector (they use a small quantity of inactivated virus to cause an immune response that creates antibodies) vaccine which is a type created previously. mRNA technology has been around for decades and has been previously tested. This allowed researchers to know that it was safe when developing the vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer use this technology). mRNA vaccines previously made and tested for Zika virus showed less side effects than previously used technologies.
“COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies in children 12 years and older” (Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination).
The mild side effects from the vaccine show that it is working and include: pain, redness, and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea throughout the rest of the body.
These mild side effects that only last for a short period of time are better than contracting COVID-19 and living with lung injury that may result in breathing difficulties that might take months to improve (COVID-19 Lung Damage).
It’s simple. It’s free. It’s the right thing to do. Let’s end this pandemic. Get vaccinated!
Caldwell, Alison. “How Were Researchers Able to Develop COVID-19 Vaccines so Quickly?” University of Chicago News, 5 Feb. 2021, news.uchicago.edu/story/how-were-researchers-able-develop-covid-19-vaccines-so-quickly.
“Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, 2021, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html.
Galiastatos, Panagis. “COVID-19 Lung Damage.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, 12 Apr. 2021, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/what-coronavirus-does-to-the-lungs#:%7E:text=While%20most%20people%20recover%20from,take%20months%20to%20improve.