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Me after receiving my second dose

My Experience On Getting Vaccinated And Why I Feel It Is So Important

The Covid-19 pandemic has left the world in a state of chaos for more than a year. For Americans, the pandemic experiences have been a whirlwind of damage to families, friends, and personally as well. The public has been on edge, waiting for something to be done to stop the spread of COVID. Scientists have been working endlessly on developing an effective and safe vaccine since January of 2020. 


Typically, vaccines have to go through three phases to be available to the public, which takes about two years or more. The COVID vaccine could skip to phase three in six months instead of the regular two-year duration. On December 14, 2020, at around 9 a.m, the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine was given to Sandra Lindsay, an intensive care nurse in New York. 


Doubts about whether these vaccines are effective have been a topic of discussion since the first approved vaccine. Some people do not believe that it will work or are unsure, while others are eager and trust the process.


I am someone who is a firm believer in getting things done. To make America as close to normal as possible, everyone has to do their part. I am proud to say that I am fully vaccinated as of May 4, 2021. 


Vaccinations have become available for any New Jersey citizen who is 16 or older. Anyone 16 years of age and older is eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine. To get the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccine, you have to be 18+. The reason 16-year-olds can only receive Pfizer is that they originally included the younger generation in their studies. Moderna and Johnson and Johnson have not tested the safety rates on 16-17-year-olds but hope to expand their age range to a younger audience. 


When Governor Phil Murphy announced that people my age could be vaccinated, I was so eager. Ever since my parents got the vaccine back in December and January, I anticipated this day. Booking my appointment online was very simple and took no more than five minutes. The process is so seamless and practical. When you register online for a vaccination, it comes back with a location and time where you can get to receive the vaccine. 


On the way to the vaccination site, I was beyond excited. I could not believe that this day was happening so quickly. As I was walking into the Shoprite pharmacy, I could not help but think about the risks involved and making the right decision. Ultimately, all of the positives outweighed the negatives for me, and I received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on April 12, 2021. After receiving the shot, I felt like I was on top of the world. It made me feel so happy that things were finally happening to stop the spread. 


The first day having the first shot, I felt fine. The only side effect I experienced was a sore arm, which is entirely normal with any shot. I was able to continue in sports and went on with my everyday life. After the second shot, I was nervous about the possible side effects. I have heard a lot of people talk about their experience getting the second dose. People have reported getting flu-like symptoms, including nausea, tiredness, headaches, fever, body aches, etc. Lucky for me, I did not have any of those symptoms. Like the first shot, I had nothing more than a sore arm. 


I was curious to know if my peers were as excited as I was about being eligible for the vaccine. I asked my friend, Allison Scorsone, a junior at NHS, about her experience of getting vaccinated. Most young people either base their decisions on their parents’ thoughts or the opposite. For Allison, “it was both mine and my parent’s decision. I wanted to get it; they wanted me to get it. We agreed that whenever I could, I should get it.”


She explained that she “felt excited” after receiving her first dose and felt like things were finally getting done. She “wanted to tell other people how easy it was in hopes of getting life back to normal and getting as many people vaccinated as possible.” After getting the second dose, she explained having “a low-grade fever and some body aches; I felt like my whole body was sore, but I am fine.” People react differently to every shot, and all side effects are completely normal. 


Being only 16-years-old during a global pandemic, I have learned a lot over the past year. Staying safe and being respectful to others is something that should always be the case, especially now. I wanted the vaccine for a couple of reasons, but the main two reasons were to keep myself and others safe. Stopping the spread of the COVID-19 is super important to get America back to a state of normalcy again. 


I want others to know that getting vaccinated was a positive thing for me. It is a step in the right direction to get things back to the way they were before. If there is anything to take away from this, it is that being a part of something like America is rewarding enough. But being a part of America also means helping out others when needed, and it is needed now more than ever. Getting vaccinated is a small but essential part of getting back to normal again.



*After completion of this article, the Pfizer vaccine became available to children 12+