June 14, 2021
The Covid-19 vaccine is a key step in keeping people safe and achieving normalcy again. Therefore, it is important for as many people as possible to get vaccinated. Currently, 42% of Americans are fully vaccinated. The goal should be to reach herd immunity so people can once again gather in large crowds and interact with each other without the need for masks.
There are currently three vaccines available in the United States: Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. The Pfizer vaccine is available for people 12 years and older and is given in two doses. The Moderna vaccine is available for people 18 years and older and is also given in two doses. Lastly, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is given in one dose and is available for people 18 years and older.
It typically takes about 10-15 years on average to develop a vaccine. However, because of the immense pressure Covid-19 placed on the healthcare system and the economy, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services started a program called Operation Warp Speed in order to expedite the vaccine development process.
Traditional vaccines like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen put a weakened germ into the body to prompt the immune system to respond much as it would have on its first reaction to the actual illness. On the other hand, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccines are based on mRNA, which teaches cells in the human body to make proteins that trigger an immune response. MRNA vaccines may actually be better because they can generate a stronger type of immunity. They stimulate the immune system to make antibodies and immune system killer cells.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is offering a free dinner with him and his wife at their residence as an incentive while other states are offering scratch-off lottery tickets with cash prizes as well as scholarships.
All vaccines have potential side effects, but that should not deter most people from getting vaccinated. Common side effects are pain, swelling and redness in the arm in which the vaccine was injected. Patients have complained of fatigue, headache, chills, fever, muscle pain, nausea and even chest pain. The side effects typically last for a few days, and if they do last longer, patients are advised to contact a doctor.
The vaccine is extremely accessible and available at most pharmacies and hospitals as well as clinics and doctors’ offices. In fact, there are three vaccination sites in Lyndhurst: Levy’s Pharmacy, Stop & Shop and Walgreens.
Among those who are hesitant to get the vaccine, one of their greatest concerns is the possibility of long-term side effects. The vaccine is so new and not much information is known about it, so people are scared of what could happen to them in the long run. However, adverse side effects generally show up within the first two weeks and the most serious vaccine side effects in history have all been caught within six weeks.
Colleges and universities across the United States now require vaccines for attendance. In fact, in New Jersey alone, 13 post-secondary schools require students to be vaccinated. On March 25, Rutgers University became the first large university in the United States, and possibly the first college of any size in the country, to initiate a Covid-19 vaccine requirement for its students. These schools want to ensure that their community stays safe on campus and that there is not an Covid-19 outbreak.
EDITORIAL CARTOON BY ANDREW PALMA
State governments and businesses have both shown their support for the Covid-19 vaccine by creating incentives to encourage people to get vaccinated. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is offering a free dinner with him and his wife at their residence as an incentive while other states are offering scratch-off lottery tickets with cash prizes as well as scholarships. In Delaware, residents can win free vacations and free tolls along with cash prizes if they get the vaccine. Krispy Kreme is offering one free doughnut a day and Shake Shack is offering a one-time use voucher for free fries for those who are vaccinated in New York City. The offer expires on June 12 at 11 p.m.
Over 400 Americans are dying each day of the coronavirus, and these fatalities can be prevented if enough people get vaccinated. Furthermore, students are eager to get back to school in person without masks or the fear of getting sick. If enough of them get vaccinated, the next school year could include field trips, concerts, sporting events, school dances and all of the traditional activities that define the high school experience.
Ultimately, getting the vaccine is a personal decision, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. It is in the best interest for all Americans to get vaccinated and to do so as soon as possible.