Vaccinations in the school community

By: Chumani Chamberlain'21 

Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson: you may have seen these three names come across major headlines or they may be a topic of conversation as you walk through the halls. The three companies are supplying the COVID-19 vaccine for the United States. Recently, all three vaccines are eligible for adults 18 years or older while the Pfizer vaccine is eligible for people 16 years or older. Because more people in the high school age range are eligible for the vaccine, many students on the Upper School Campus have received at least one or both vaccine doses.  


In order to gain a better understanding of how the Upper School Student body feels about the COVID vaccines there was an anonymous google form sent to all Upper School students. Sixty-seven students participated in the survey where 94% (63) indicated that they plan on getting vaccinated, 3% (2) indicated that they “maybe” plan on getting vaccinated, while 3% (2) stated they do not plan on getting vaccinated at all. Students were also asked to elaborate on their previous response. One student who stated they plan on getting vaccinated listed how their reason is “to protect my family,” while another student who also said they plan on getting vaccinated said “to protect myself and those around me. I know that this is pretty much the only thing that can help pull us out of this pandemic.”


The same google form was also sent to Upper School faculty. Thirty-nine faculty members participated in the survey and 100 percent of faculty stated they are planning to get vaccinated. When asked to explain their answer one faculty member stated how “I believe vaccinations are super important in helping stop the spread of this disease.” While another faculty member emphasized how grateful they are with the vaccine: “Vaccines work! Thank goodness the science behind vaccines has advanced since the idea of variolation was first introduced in the middle ages. Vaccines have prevented the spread of cholera, smallpox, polio, mumps, measles, etc. I am so grateful for the creativity and dedication of the scientists who made this inoculation timeline happen so quickly.”


Senior TJ Heck received both doses of the vaccine and stated how one of the reasons he wanted to get the vaccine was “to protect those with compromised immune systems.” 


Freshman Belle Akeredolu stated that when she is eligible to get the vaccine she would choose to get it because “it is an extra level of protection for you...and it's better overal to keep you and your family safe.” 


Senior Tripp Pratt also added that he chose to get vaccinated because “eventually once restrictions are lifted I would assume that vaccinated people would be allowed to go back to life normally...and I chose to also get it to do my part in protecting myself and my family.”


I also spoke with French Teacher Madame Scott who stated that her vaccination experience was “very easy.” She continued by stating how she was “impressed with the number of volunteers who were present.” She also emphasized that she wanted to get it to “feel more comfortable” while teaching in a school environment. 


With more people having the opportunity to get vaccinated, it begs the question of if the school should require the COVID vaccine during the 2021-22 school year. In the student survey 59.7% (40) of respondents said both teachers and students should be vaccinated in order to return to school, 14.9% (10) of respondents said teachers should be vaccinated to return to school, and 13.4% (9) of respondents stated neither group should be required to be vaccinated to return to school. Finally, 11.9% (8) of respondents indicated “I’m not sure.”


For the faculty survey 51.3% (20) faculty members stated both teachers and students should be vaccinated in order to return to school, 10.3% (4) stated that teachers should be vaccinated to return to school, 12.8% (5) of faculty choose neither group should be required to be vaccinated to return to school, while 25.6% (10) of teachers indicated “I’m not sure.”


Belle stated how she thinks “everyone should be vaccinated...I think overall the school should try and encourage everyone to get it.” Madame Scott also stated that she “would love as many people to be vaccinated as possible given the opportunity. I think it would make everyone feel more comfortable especially in tight spaces and walking in the halls. Even now you sometimes see people clustered and even though I have had my vaccine I sometimes feel anxious or uncomfortable so the more the better for the wellbeing of the entire community.”