As COVID-19 cases continue to decline in the United States, hopes are rising for some resemblance to normality in the upcoming fall semester. However, a significant hurdle remains as the pace of vaccinations begins to stabilize in the United States. Both in clinical trials as well as the outside world, doctors and researchers have proven the COVID-19 vaccine to be effective, safe, and reliable. Hence, continuing vaccinations remains a key to stopping this pandemic and beginning the return to ‘normalcy.’ According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines possess an effectiveness rate of at least 90%, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is just above 70%. While some breakthrough cases may occur, nonetheless, all three vaccines provide a strong and positive outlook in both preventing against COVID-19 as well as severe illness, thus preventing the possibility of hospitalization or fatality. While older age groups had previously been prioritized due to a stronger possibility of fatality, vaccines are now open to all, and as campuses prepare to resume normal operations in the fall semester, vaccines are the key to a safe return. As classes end and we move into the summer, here are three top reasons for college students to get vaccinated before fall:
- Protecting the vulnerable. One of the most crucial to reasons to get vaccinated is to protect the most vulnerable in our communities, both off and on college campuses. According to the CDC, young children, the elderly, and those with autoimmune disorders or immunocompromised are at the highest risk for catching COVID-19 and becoming severely ill. By getting vaccinated, we can help stop the spread of cases and protect our loved ones and our fellow peers and professors. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines hold a more than 90% efficacy rate, and (though the risk is low) in the case of infection, chances of severe illness are minimal. The introduction of various variants into the United States, such as the B.1.351 or the B.1.429, poses even stronger risks, but all three vaccines are believed to be almost equally effective in preventing serious illness from these variants as well. By getting vaccinated and reducing opportunities for the virus to spread, you can help protect and keep safe those with the highest vulnerability.
- Keeping our Fall Semester Open. As college campuses closed around the country last March and classes moved online, everyday activities came to a halt. However, by getting vaccinated, we can now return to on-campus classes and resume club activities and other events. The COVID-19 vaccine has been proven safe in clinical trials and does not contain any strain of the COVID-19 virus, nor does it interact with your DNA. Instead, mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines and vector vaccines (the two prevalent types used for the COVID-19 vaccine) carry (inactive) materials derived from the virus to our immune system cells (known as lymphocytes), allowing for them to process the information and thus construct defenses against the virus.
- Keeping Yourself Protected. Lastly, not only does the vaccine help protect vulnerable groups and keep campuses open, but it first and foremost helps protects you. By getting vaccinated, you’re likely to avoid catching COVID-19 or getting severely ill in the case that you do get infected. While eight out of ten COVID-19 related deaths in the U.S. have been in the age group of over sixty-five, the other two remaining figures belonged to groups below that age, meaning that young adults are susceptible to fatal COVID-19 cases. By getting vaccinated, you’ll be able to carry a little less stress next semester. When you already have to worry about those 10-page papers, tests and midterms, group projects and presentations, why add the possibility of catching COVID-19 to that list?