The COVID-19 Vaccine: Where do students stand?

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Students across the GC campus present mixed opinions on the recent development of the
COVID-19 vaccine.

Created in under a year, the vaccine yields controversy throughout the United States. GC’s
student body portrays a wide variety of opinions expressed around the nation.

In a recent and anonymous survey, 62 out of 98 GC students said they would take the vaccine if
given the opportunity. While the majority of surveyed students support vaccination, only 41 of
them believe the school should require vaccination in the future.

Those surveyed provided various reasons for their stances on receiving the vaccine; several of
those in favor of vaccination are eager to see their daily lives return to normal and want to assist
in ending the pandemic. Such students often emphasized the importance of herd immunity and
developing protection against the virus. Additionally, students with immunosuppressed family
members are more likely to take the vaccine due to virus susceptibility.

However, other students are much more skeptical of the vaccine; its potential side effects and
long-term outcomes raise concerns for many at GC.

“The vaccine is too new for me,” said an anonymous student. “I need to see more studies on the
long-term effects before I decide to do it.”

Another student believed the vaccine may be “more dangerous for younger and healthy
individuals than the disease itself.”

But students’ reasons for not taking the vaccine differ. One student focused less on the
skepticism of its side effects and more on the prioritization of at-risk groups.

“Before someone like myself gets the vaccine, it truly deserves to go to the older community,
health care workers, and first responders,” said the anonymous student. “I heard that it has been
pretty difficult to get for some members of the older community.”

Between rumors and information spread via news outlets and online sources, actual facts
regarding the vaccine are hard to come by. Students often hear of minor side effects, such as
slight arm pain and soreness, while others hear of lingering side effects, such as allergic reactions and fatigue. For the most part, surveyed students seem okay with taking the vaccine, given the typical nature of low-risk side effects.

But a handful of respondents suggested the disease may affect fertility. One respondent even
said, “The vaccine is not fully developed. You can get Bell’s palsy from it.”
According to Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of Bell’s palsy include sudden weakness in your facial
muscles. In most cases, the weakness is temporary and significantly improves over weeks. The
weakness makes half of your face appear to droop. Your smile is one-sided, and your eye on that
side resists closing.

While such side effects have been associated with COVID-19 across various platforms, several
studies refute many of these claims. For example, the results of the Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trial
for the vaccine showed the same rate of Bell’s palsy among its participants as the rate for the
general population.

On the other hand, there is still much to learn about this new vaccine, even for the scientists who
assisted in its development.

According to a fact-checked article from VeryWell Health, Chunhuei Chi, director of the Center
for Global Health at Oregon State University, offered some speculation on the length of
immunity for the vaccine.

“It is very likely that for [the] COVID-19 vaccine, given that the length of immunity the vaccine
generates is limited, we may have to be vaccinated annually,” said Chi.

The immunity duration of vaccines can last anywhere from a few months to a few decades. Only
time will tell what many wish to know about the controversial vaccine.

As the spring semester moves along, GC students must overcome their differences in opinion as
they continue to adjust to the global pandemic and its effects on everyday life.