Students receive COVID-19 vaccine as Kansas moves into Phase 5

Zoey Pudenz, Co Editor-In-Chief

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  • On Friday, Apr. 2, junior Rea Montgomery received her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

  • After filling out paperwork, individuals are placed into lines where they must social distance.

  • Lines are separated by vaccine and dose the individual is receiving.

  • After receiving the vaccine, individuals must sit in these chairs for 15 minutes to make sure no side effects or reactions occur. Complementary hand sanitizers are available to take home.

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On Monday, Mar. 29, Kansas entered Phase 5 of the Vaccination Prioritization plan making all people 16 and older eligible for the vaccine. Students eager to receive the vaccine jumped on to the opportunity. 

One popular vaccination destination has been a vacant building that once held Best Buy where volunteers and nurses have set up stations to make getting the vaccine safe and easy. For minors to receive the vaccine, a driver’s license (to validate age) and parent’s insurance card are required.

Junior Sinza Thoi received the Pfizer vaccine which is currently the only vaccine authorized for 16 and 17-year-olds. However, Pfizer recently announced that vaccination trials within 12-15 year olds have demonstrated 100% efficacy.

“While getting the vaccine I didn’t feel anything at all and it was super quick and easy,” Thoi said. “The reason I got my vaccine was because I’m going out-of-state next month and to protect myself and others around me.”

According to the CDC, common reactions to the vaccine are tiredness, headaches, pain or swelling on the arm the vaccine was injected, fever, or chills. After receiving the vaccine, people must sit in a designated area, six feet apart for 15 minutes to ensure that no side effects or reactions take place. 

“Your arm is a bit numb at first when you get the shot but I felt nothing,” said junior Nnenna Okoye. “It wasn’t painful at all and quite quick so it was an ideal shot.”

Okoye received the vaccine after her mom who is a nurse greatly influenced her to get it.

“I was only nervous about the needle because some shot needles are unnecessarily big but I was not worried about the vaccine part per se,” Okoye said. “My mom wanted to ensure we were safe so she wouldn’t be able to pass anything unknowingly onto us.”

If I can get protection then I don’t see a reason not to”

— Abigail Cahill

Nervousness surrounding the vaccine can be common considering its fast development. However, junior Abigail Cahill who also received the Pfizer vaccine trusts the vaccine due to its transparency within listing the ingredients.

“If I can get protection then I don’t see a reason not to,” Cahill said. “We’ve been doing research over vaccinations for years and years and all of that contributed to the COVID-19 vaccine too. The ingredients list and explanations of it are all online and it didn’t raise any red flags for me.”

Thoi also trusted the vaccine due to its current success rate. 

“I knew that the vaccine was safe and I also know a lot of people were getting it and had good results,” Thoi said. “I think it’s important to get vaccinated to keep everyone safe and I wanted to contribute to that help.”

The CDC recently announced fewer restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals. These include resuming domestic travel without needing to get tested before or after travel, not having to self-quarantine after travel, and gathering in small groups without masks with other fully vaccinated individuals.

Cahill is excited to see one of her closest friends, junior Marissa Warrell, who she hasn’t seen since the pandemic due to Marissa’s dad being immunocompromised. 

“Not seeing her throughout all of this has been a struggle,” Cahill said. “But, now when we’re fully vaccinated we can see each other whenever. I’m so excited to see Marissa and just happy to be vaccinated.”