Have YOU Been Vaccinated?

Julia Collins, News Editor

More than a year has passed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are still battling the virus and its variants. However, now that there are three U.S. approved vaccines, we are all cautiously looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Nevertheless, with the vaccine distribution comes new questions and dilemmas for us to navigate in this unprecedented era.

As of the beginning of April 2021, 61.4 million Americans have been fully vaccinated. President Joe Biden vowed to distribute 100 million shots in his first 100 days as President, and reached that goal in just 58 days. His new plan is to have 200 million vaccines given by his 100th day in office.

While the early days of the vaccination roll-out seemed to be confusing to navigate, New York has recently added many additional vaccination sites and expanded eligibility for the vaccine to include all those ages 16 and up. The two-dose Pfizer, two-dose Moderna and one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available at NYS designated vaccine sites, community centers and select pharmacies and hospitals. All sites require individuals to have previously scheduled appointments. Proof of identity is required, but proof of insurance is not.

Even those who are vaccinated still need to adhere to CDC guidelines, including wearing a mask and social distancing when out in public. However, vaccinated individuals do not need to get tested or self-quarantine if they travel domestically. 

There is speculation that college campuses will require all students to be fully vaccinated before moving back for the fall 2021 semester. Cornell University’s President, Martha Pollack, announced that “Cornell intends to require vaccination for students returning to Ithaca, Geneva, and Cornell Tech campuses for the fall semester.” On the other hand, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said it will likely not be mandatory for SUNY students to get the vaccine. Rising college freshmen should be on the lookout for whether or not their university will be requiring students to be vaccinated. 

Recent surveys show that approximately 17% of Americans either probably or definitely would not get vaccinated, according to “The Wall Street Journal.” This statistic is significant because in order to achieve herd immunity, 70% to 90% of the population must be vaccinated. Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of the population becomes immune to a disease, in essence, and in this case, ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

People have been posting on social media about getting vaccinated to show their support for the vaccine. Even celebrities, including Mariah Carey, Oprah Winfrey, and Ryan Reynolds, have joined the movement to encourage others to get vaccinated.

According to a recent “Time” magazine article, new research has shown the Pfizer vaccine to be highly effective in protecting people from COVID-19 and lowering hospitalizations due to the virus. As encouraging results from research increases, the number of people vaccinated should increase as well.