Article and graphic by Yasmine Sarraf
Empty seats. Canceled events. Stacks of take-home tests. All of us at Santa Rosa High School have seen the impact of COVID-19 on our community. If there was something you could do to aid in the fight against the virus, wouldn’t you do it?
Get vaccinated. Get the booster shot.
“I got the booster because I want to protect myself, my family and really everyone I come in contact with from getting/dying from COVID. I think getting the booster is a vital part of helping reduce the number of cases of COVID,” said senior Linnea Rydell.
At the end of December 2021, unvaccinated people were eight times more likely to end up hospitalized and twenty times more likely to die from COVID than vaccinated people, according to the California COVID-19 website. BBC News says that President Joe Biden informed Americans that “Almost everyone who has died from COVID-19 in the past many months has been unvaccinated.”
However, the protection provided by the vaccine declines over time—“from the high 80%-90% to 40% after five or six months,” said Dr. Leana Wen, according to a TIME article updated in December 2021. A booster shot against COVID re-enforces the protection provided by the original two doses. It also provides protection even against the Omicron variant, which is something the original two doses are incapable of, according to a study by the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard.
“Right now, with how Omicron is and how contagious it is, I would recommend [a booster shot], just so if you do end up getting Omicron, it’s not nearly as aggressive, symptomatic,” said senior Justin Garcia-Diaz.
Many students are hesitant to get their booster shot, worrying that a reaction to the shot could harm their attendance, but getting COVID is far more deadly than getting sick from the booster. “Fortunately, I experienced no side effects from the booster, nor any of my original vaccines. While I have seen second hand the symptoms many other people experience, they are certainly less severe than COVID itself,” said Rydell. Additionally, it is possible to plan around the appointment; a student who gets the booster shot on Friday or Saturday should be able to go back to school on Monday or Tuesday. “Personally, I only experienced a dead arm the following day. I wasn’t relatively tired, I just had a dead arm,” said Garcia-Diaz.
Another reason that people are discouraged from getting the booster shot is that it is impractical to get a booster within a year of the last shot. But COVID is a virus that has proven itself a formidable opponent many times and it will not resist damaging the world more if we back down now. Our hesitance right now is an opportunity for COVID to strike another blow.
“As a student, every class I have other students absent because of COVID, so it kind of shows how relevant it is to our everyday lives,” said Garcia-Diaz. Our actions at this moment are pivotal to our future. “The more people that get their three shots, the quicker we can go back to our ‘normal’ life and the more lives can be saved,” said Rydell.
You get to make a choice: Will you back down against COVID-19? Or will you fight back?