Will you be vaxxed?

Students give their opinions on COVID vaccines


Courtesy of Megan Orban

South High teachers Megan and Chris Orban take a picture after they received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Many teenagers dread the time where they have to go to the doctor’s office and get shots, but during this pandemic, many teens and adults are excited to get their COVID-19 vaccination. 

There are currently three FDA-authorized COVID vaccines available in the United States. The Moderna vaccine is approved for people 18 and over, the Pfizer vaccine is approved for people 16 and over, and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is approved for people 18 and over. 

Clinical trials of the vaccines’ effectiveness on children are currently in process. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said recently in an interview that kids as young as first-graders could be able to get a COVID vaccine by September, assuming clinical trials are successful. 

Paige Kehlenbrink, senior, works at Meramec Bluffs retirement home, and she has received the COVID vaccine. She said she experienced more side effects from the second dose of the vaccine. 

“The first vaccine felt just like a flu shot, but my arm was a bit sore afterward, but after getting the second dose of the vaccine, I had horrible chills, body aching, headaches, and tiredness,” she said. 

 She said even though she experienced some side effects, she is glad she got vaccinated. 

I knew getting the vaccine would bring me relief.  I’m glad I got the vaccine because it’s less stressful knowing that I could get it and spread it to loved ones,” Kehlenbrink said. 

She feels relieved because she has less of a chance of getting the virus and spreading it to her loved ones and high-risk people at the nursing home. She is one of very few to get the vaccine this early, especially for being her age. 

On Monday, the CDC officially stated that fully-vaccinated people can be around other fully-vaccinated people without having to wear masks or having to socially distance. 

Freshman Zach Burtch said is a little bit hesitant about believing in the vaccines’ effectiveness. He said he’s not sure how to feel and where his head is at with medicine in general. 

“I’m slightly scared to get the vaccine. Medicine is always a debatable topic for what works on some people and what does not work and how it affects people,” he said…  

The COVID pandemic affected everyone differently, and Burtch said it has not been easy for him.

“I’ve lost a lot of my social skills and being forced to stay inside which was really hard for me,”  Burtch said. 

Freshman, Kaylen Detchemendy said she doesn’t fully support the vaccine. She explains that she will start supporting it when she sees a change and when things start to get better. 

“I’ll start supporting it when we see COVID get better and the numbers go down,” Detchemendy said. 

Whether it is because of the vaccines, or other factors, the virus is currently on the decline in the United States… In fact, on March 8 the average new daily COVID cases in St. Louis County fell to 136, after topping 850 in November at the height of the pandemic. So far, 16.4 percent of St. Louisans have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. However, the organization also said the U.S. is currently in a pivotal time with the virus, as people start to travel for Spring Break, and more-contagious variants of the virus take hold in some states.

At South High, there are currently 0 positive COVID cases, according to the Parkway School District’s health dashboard.  

Detchemendy said she’s not as educated on the vaccine as she would like to be, so she’s unsure if she would take the vaccine right now if she had the opportunity. 

“I would maybe take it, it depends on how it affects people. I feel like I should be a bit more educated on it because I feel like if you really want to know more about it you really have to look into it.”

If the vaccine was available to Detchemendy right now, she still doesn’t know if she would take it. There are a lot of questions being asked and the thought process behind it. 

Joe Kochbeck, chemistry teacher, said he 100% supports the vaccine and wants to get it as soon as possible because it has already saved many lives. 

“Yes, I support the vaccine. vaccines have saved millions upon millions of lives, and I think this one will save as many as well. So I definitely support it,” Kochbeck said. 

Kochbeck compares the new COVID vaccine to other vaccines that are out there that have saved millions of lives, so he believes that this virus will be cured by the vaccine. 

“I can’t wait for the moment where we see the light at the end of the tunnel because we really need it,” Burtch said.