MBS Students and the Vaccine

On May 10, 2021, the FDA expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents aged 12-15. Shortly after this announcement from departing Head of School Peter Caldwell issued a message to the MBS community: “We highly encourage all students to get vaccinated as this will allow us to open School in the safest possible way.” With the expanded EUA, more members of the MBS community are eligible to receive the vaccine and are taking advantage of the opportunity. 

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In a survey sent to students on May 19th (see results in infographic below), 52 of 57 total respondents said that they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 49 of whom received the Pfizer vaccine. 46% of students who responded reported no symptoms after either the first or the second doses. Some, however, experienced common symptoms as reported by the FDA including sore arms, headaches, and fatigue. Robyn Liss ‘22, said that getting vaccinated “is made out to be a lot worse than it actually is, and I strongly recommend others to get their vaccines.” Liss experienced some light symptoms only after the second dose which she said were not too debilitating, and disappeared within 2 days.

While the country may be torn over whether or not they would recommend the vaccine to a loved one, 96% of MBS student respondents reported that they would recommend others to get vaccinated to get back to some semblance of “normal” life. Sal D’Agostino mentioned, “I got vaccinated because I want my life back. To do shows in Founders without a mask or social distancing – to return to the classroom with no plexiglass glass.” Having a fully vaccinated, or close to fully vaccinated, the student population in the fall would certainly help the administration plan for a potentially maskless and Plexi-glassless reopening.

There has been some reluctance among students to get the vaccine. Some feel as though the EUA is not enough to make them feel comfortable getting the vaccine. One student, who felt uncomfortable sharing their identity, stated that because they are a healthy teenager, there is no reason for them to get the vaccine at this time, “especially when the vaccine hasn’t been approved.”

For others, however, getting the vaccine is not just a matter of protecting themselves. Katherine Yang ‘22 said, “at some point, you have to ask yourself: Are you as an individual more important than the rest of the population?” According to the Stanford Medicine News Center, due to the coronavirus variants currently making their way through the country, herd immunity seems unlikely. Vaccinations, they said, will have the biggest impact on both lowering the rates of COVID-19 and improving personal health. Jed Greer ‘27 said he got the vaccine because he spent a lot of time in quarantine during hockey season and didn’t want to have to do it again. Getting the vaccine will prevent large quarantines for schools, sports teams, and other community spaces, and provide people with a way to return to activities that they enjoy.