Students and the COVID Vaccine


Kamryn Pender

A discarded neck gaiter outside YMS.

A big question students are asking is when will we be getting closer to the normal that we were used to? Ditching the mask and not having to follow social distancing is something that we all wish will happen in the near future. The good news is that we’re getting closer to that old normal we used to have, the bad news is we have to get a shot or two to reach that point, but one or two small shots will get us closer to the past that we used to live.
On April 9, Pfizer became the first vaccine maker to ask the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, for emergency use approval to use its vaccine in people ages 12 and older. Previously it was available for people ages 16 and over. Pfizer has said that its vaccine is safe and 100% effective against the virus in children ages 12 through 15 as it is in young adults aged 18-21. These results are still being reviewed by the FDA, however, it may take a few weeks to review the results.
Moderna’s vaccine, the second one to be approved, is still doing trials in kids 17 and younger. Their vaccine is currently authorized for people ages 18 and over. Moderna plans to enroll 6,750 children between the ages of 6 months through 11 years from both the US and Canada but hasn’t made clear how many participants are ages 12 through 17. Since Moderna’s trials are still ongoing, it has not yet asked the FDA for authorization in the teenager age group. The third vaccine to be approved, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine has been temporarily recalled, or paused, from being administered due to a possible link from blood clots to the vaccine. A blood clot is when a clump of blood turns from a liquid to a gel-like or semisolid state. Obviously, people don’t want that to happen after getting their vaccine. However, Johnson & Johnson is doing trials with people between the ages of 12 and 17 but no information has been provided about children below the age of 12. Before the vaccine was recalled, it was available for people ages 18 and over.
AstraZeneca is currently still working on its vaccine. They have not been able to get FDA approval because blood clots are also happening after getting the vaccine. AstraZeneca says that there is no link between the blood clots and their vaccine. Due to the vaccine not yet FDA approved, there haven’t been trials for children with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and it will be a while before they do.
So the big question that still remains is when can students get the COVID vaccine. An independent poll conducted by the writers of this story asked 25 7th graders that if it were up to them, would they get the vaccine when it becomes ready for them, and 72% said yes. The answer to the big question unfortunately is that it will most likely be a few more months before we can get the shots in our arms. Hang in there everybody, keep your masks on, keep trying your best to distance yourself from others, and hopefully, we’ll be out of this soon.