COVID Vaccinations: Students Explain Their “Why” to Getting Vaccinated


Annabelle Wooster

Sophomore Hannah Veenendaal gets her vaccine after it was approved for children ages 16+.

Annabelle Wooster, Editor

In this article, student names and identities were kept anonymous to protect student confidentiality.

Before the end of the 2021 school year last June, the entirety of the population at Wauwatosa West became eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination due to their age qualification. While vaccination rates have been somewhat low nationwide, many students wasted no time.

“I got vaccinated because I understood that if it’s available to me, and it helps others, I probably should,” said one student.

Many other students believed that the vaccine gave them an opportunity to help out and be proactive.

“As COVID-19 continues to be a huge issue, I thought that it was essential to do my part and stop the spread” said one individual.

Activities and extracurriculars are important parts of the lives of many Wauwatosa West students. Many of them saw the vaccine as a way to get back to doing the things they loved.

“I do a lot of volunteer work and I help a lot at [my] church. I figured it would be best for me [to get vaccinated],” she later elaborated.

Many students also are looking forward to making up for lost time with their loved ones.

“I wanted to be able to see my friends safely and also see my grandpa,” said another student who hadn’t been able to see her Grandpa in over a year. Becoming vaccinated was a way for her to be at ease and not worry about spreading the virus to someone who is at a much higher risk for developing a serious case of COVID.

There are currently three main vaccination options being produced by three different companies; Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer.

The Moderna vaccine is a two shot vaccination, only available to those eighteen years of age and older. This means that only a very small percentage of the student body was eligible to get this vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine came as one round of just a single shot, but was also only deemed safe for those at or above age eighteen. The Pfizer vaccine, like the Moderna vaccine, requires two shots done in two separate doses. These rounds are usually three to five weeks apart, and individuals are not considered “fully vaccinated” until two weeks after their final dose.

The Pfizer vaccine was declared safe for individuals as young as twelve on May 10th 2021. This means that the entirety of Wauwatosa West’s highschool students were now eligible to become vaccinated.

It is known that no matter the vaccine, anybody getting vaccinated has the potential of feeling minor side effects. Because everyone’s bodies react differently, the intensity of the side effects varies from person to person.

“I got Pfizer which is a two dose vaccine. After my first dose, I was a little tired and my arm was sore but that was it. The second dose was a little bit worse, but this seemed to be common with everyone I’ve talked to that had gotten it. I felt a little more sick and tired but it went away after about a day” explained one student.

Even though some students experienced side effects, many believed that it was worth it compared to the discomfort that comes with actually contracting the COVID-19 virus.

“[What I experienced] was nothing compared to what could happen if I got COVID-19, let alone the possible long-term effects seen in teens [after contracting COVID-19] such as fatigue and lung problems,” said the individual.

The hope for a somewhat normal school year is a very prevalent thought for many students at Wauwatosa West. Before the school year started, polls and surveys were sent out to gauge the comfortability of students returning to school in various situations. The options were anything from all students being required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status, to only those under twelve being required to mask up while in school district buildings, and finally, no students being required to wear masks at all during the school day.

“My comfort (at school) will depend on the people around me being vaccinated and also wearing masks. As the delta variant spreads and as people are still not getting vaccinated, we are at similar numbers to when we were in lockdown, but with a more contagious and deadly strain” said one student who expressed that she would feel most comfortable if everybody was vaccinated and masked, regardless of age or vaccination status.

“I think that everyone should be wearing masks as you are contagious with the delta variant even if you are vaccinated” she further explained.

This student felt that the district should be putting more precautions in place to help control the spread of COVID-19, especially with the increased worries surrounding the more contagious Delta Variant.

“I also think that the vaccine should be mandatory like chicken pox or the flu shots, as it would keep everyone safe and avoid other possibly stronger strains from spreading” she said.

Many students are optimistic for a more “normal” school year than that of the past. A lot of individuals are even hoping that their extra precautions will pay off in the end, and potentially rub off on their close friends and family.

“It’s so important to do your part and also to try to educate and encourage friends or family members to do the same!”