By Annie Serkes
Although College students may be at the end of the line for the COVID-19 vaccine, questions about vaccine safety and hesitancy are being raised. While some students are excited to move past the pandemic and return to normal life, others want the same, but are skeptical of the vaccine.
Vaccine hesitancy is not a new concept, there’s always been opposers, known as anti-vaxxers, that refused to accept other vaccines for their own reasons. Now, with the COVID-19 vaccine, despite top doctors and scientists in public support of the vaccine, there are people who have displayed hesitancy towards its effectiveness and safety.
“My biggest concern is that it’s been less than a year since the vaccine was made. The side effects of the vaccine concern me more than actually getting COVID-19,” said Julia Fitzgerald ’22.
“Even though it seems that very little time has occurred to produce these vaccines, they have been in production for years, thus, needing less reconfiguration to match the COVID virus, the FDA is one of the most stringent clearing houses for approval of medicines and vaccines in the world,” explained Mary Masson, director of Bergeron Wellness Center.
According to Mark Lubkowitz, professor of biology, the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
“If you look at the risk benefit analysis and look at the number of people who have been vaccinated compared to those who have died from COVID-19, it’s not even close,” he said.
The CDC has also stated, there can be side effects after COVID-19 vaccinations, but they are said to only be temporary.
“Although there have been some reports of side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines, most subside in days, and they can be a good thing,” Lubkowitz said.
Having symptoms from the vaccine gives reassurance that your immune system is recognizing the virus in your body, and if you happen to come in contact with the virus, your immune system can fight it off.
“With my second dose of the vaccine I experienced headaches, muscle aches, and low-grade fevers, but that’s a byproduct of my immune system doing what it should,” Masson explained about her experience after her second vaccination.
When the vaccine becomes readily available to the general public, the goal is to reach herd immunity so life can revert back to normal.
“My biggest concern is that not enough people will get the vaccine to reach herd immunity, and it won’t be effective if there aren’t enough people getting it,” said Ava Albis ’23.
“To end the pandemic you need 60-70% herd immunity for all people to get an increased level of safety around it. One way we can get herd immunity is for everyone to get exposure to the virus, but that would take years, cost many more lives, and be a disaster economically,” Masson said. “Our best solution to this is a safe and effective vaccine.”