By Lucas Canter
People across the world have had their daily lives dramatically altered by the COVID-19 virus over the past year. Subjected to wearing masks wherever they go, many people couldn’t enjoy the fresh air any longer. As a result, millions of people worldwide lost their jobs, and many others were and still are confined to working at home. Fortunately, thanks to the work of brilliant scientists, several COVID-19 vaccines have been created and approved in record time. The vaccines essentially give our bodies the instructions to replicate the spike proteins on the surface of the virus so our bodies can make antibodies. At first, only people aged 16 and older were eligible, so younger kids were forced to wait eagerly for their chance to get vaccinated and enjoy more normalcy.
The vaccines are highly successful, with a 95% effective rate for Pfizer and Moderna; there was no doubt that people were looking at a substantial improvement in their daily lives. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) then decided to allow the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to young children, ages 12 to 15.
It is working noticeably well for this new age group, but there are a few cases of children getting an irregular heartbeat from the shot. The chance of this side effect occurring is incredibly low but still has caused a little concern from parents. The condition is called myocarditis, an inflammation of the cardiac muscle that makes up everyone’s heart. However, even with this condition, experts still say the syndrome of “long COVID,” experienced by those who catch the virus without being vaccinated, is much more of a threat. “Long COVID” is when people still feel the side-effects of the virus months after being infected.
The CDC states that “the known and potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks, including the possible risk of myocarditis.”
The possible side effects associated with getting the shot are pain, redness and swelling in the arms, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea all through the body. But, don’t fret; the upsides far outweigh the downsides. Getting the vaccine will almost fully ensure that you’ll never contract COVID-19 again. In addition, it’s important to mention that the vaccine is entirely free of charge and cannot be denied to anyone “who does not have health insurance coverage, is underinsured, or is out of network” (CDC).
If you’re eager to get the COVID-19 vaccination, local places such as the Westchester County Center administer the vaccine. Here is the link to the website where you can register: https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov.