Vaccination Age Lowered
By Eva Mandelbaum
For the past year, getting vaccinated has been nothing but a seemingly unrealistic
dream to many, especially teenagers. The COVID-19 Pandemic has put everyone’s lives on hold and has robbed people of a sense of normalcy in their day-to-day lives. Most people look back upon their teenage years with nostalgia for the fun times spent going out with friends and spending time with loved ones. For current teens, these gatherings have been swapped for social distancing and times of fear and isolation. High school and college students have not gotten the normal experiences of being teenagers, but with the vaccination eligibility groups now down to ages 12+, this might change.
Beginning Tuesday, April 6, teenagers ages 16 and up have been eligible for receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and Monday May 10, the FDA authorized the use of the same vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15. This is not only a big deal for the recipients of the vaccines, but for schools as well. On May 4, White Plains High School was among the first high schools in the region and the first in the county to offer an onsite COVID-19 vaccination clinic for students and staff. To Lohud, Principal Martinez explained, “If we’re able to provide the students an opportunity to visit family, to work a job this summer, to safely attend college, to me, it’s worth it for a school to provide that.”
Although schools have been opening back up, there are still many students who have chosen to remain virtual. With high school students getting vaccinated, the question lurking in peoples’ minds is: “will the sense of comfort that comes along with being vaccinated increase the number of students attending school?” According to Burbio, which monitors 1,200 school districts in the country, the national average of in-person students is 59.2 percent as of May 12. Additionally, virtual learning has decreased significantly. This holds the promise of more of a sense of normalcy in the foreseeable future. How do students feel about these recent changes?
One White Plains High School freshman shared that she feels like the pandemic has caused her to miss out on a lot of what she expected high school to be like, but she’s excited about being able to get vaccinated. She also encourages her classmates to get vaccinated. Another freshman explained, “I’m excited about getting vaccinated because I feel like it’s a step forward toward normalcy and I feel like a lot of people I know around me have been able to get vaccinated and it’s encouraged me to want to become vaccinated as well. I’m just excited to be able to get vaccinated so I can take part in somewhat normal activities.”
According to Kff.org, adolescents getting vaccinated “will represent an important first step in reaching children more generally in the U.S. and increasing population immunity.” To get your life as a teen back, consider getting vaccinated. It will not only protect you, but it can save lives. As one student stated, “We can only live so long under these conditions, and we need to get our lives back. If we have the accessibility to do so, why not take advantage of that?”