After months of patiently waiting in line, many heroic teachers across the nation are now eligible for vaccination and beginning to receive the highly anticipated Covid-19 shot.
Among these teachers are many of AT’s own staff members, who eagerly secured themselves an appointment to receive the vaccine to prevent covid’s spread. Unfortunately, the process of signing up for the vaccine generally was not easy.
“I was lucky enough to receive a link for vaccine availability from a colleague and signed up immediately,” said Erin Groth, AT’s Science Department Chair who has received her first vaccine. “Prior to receiving the link, however, it was challenging to schedule a vaccine as supplies have been limited and not all venues have the vaccine yet,” she said.
English teacher Anna McSweeney agreed that scheduling was a disaster.
“The actual shot was easy, but scheduling was a bit of a nightmare. My mom, who is 80, mentioned Jewel had appointments, and I think we were just lucky to log on at the right time,” she said.
Not only are there concerns involving the scheduling for vaccine appointments, but also concerns about the vaccine itself. For some teachers, reservations about the rumored effects of the vaccine caused slight hesitation. However, trust in the scientists’ advice drove the final decision to take the vaccine.
“Ultimately, I trust the experts that worked on creating the vaccine,” said physics teacher Kira Bonk. “I think that in general some level of skepticism is healthy, which I certainly have, but the benefits of receiving the vaccine outweighed the small risk.”
No teachers reported noticing extremely daunting side effects. Mild dizziness, fatigue, and soreness were the most common.
The monumental impact the vaccine aims to have on the nation in hopefully bringing a world of virtual activities and social distancing to a close is being felt much more greatly than a sore arm or exhaustion. By leading the way and stepping up to take the vaccine, teachers were all in agreement that they were playing an important role in solving the pandemic.
“I just want to help the population get to herd immunity so we can get back to normal,” said Bonk. “If I am helping to accomplish that by getting vaccinated, I am happy.”
In addition to leading the way towards herd immunity, teachers are illustrating the way for those who will be eligible for the vaccine in the upcoming weeks and months.
“I really feel like I am modeling for my students. Knowing that I will be back in person, I am proud that I am protecting my son, students, and parents,” said Mcsweeney.
Vaccinated teachers seemed to echo McSweeney’s selflessness in wanting to protect others. Citing the safety of those in different positions, teachers described the impact vaccination can have on the vulnerable.
“The more individuals that are vaccinated, the safer everyone will be. In order to support those that cannot be vaccinated, those that can need to in order to decrease the chance of transmission,” said Groth.
Bonk added, “The vaccine is important not only to help us return to normal, but to protect people who are vulnerable. By getting our population to a high percentage of people vaccinated, we are able to protect those vulnerable individuals who can not receive the vaccine.”
Having had firsthand experience taking the vaccine, teachers’ advice to those still considering getting the vaccine was clear. While everyone acknowledged the importance of taking the vaccine, they also stressed the importance of doing research and of each individual making the best choice for his or herself.
“If you are unsure, do your research. Read information from a variety of sources, not just one. Don’t be scared by the extreme outlier cases and talk to people who have gotten it already,” said Bonk.
Ultimately, the teachers are hopeful for what the vaccine will bring. Each one recognized how monumental this period of time is.
“I think it’s so important,” said McSweeney. “I believe what science is telling us, that we need to get vaccinated to return to a sense of normalcy!”
A new glimmer of triumph is also arriving for teachers across the Addison area who have not yet gotten the vaccine. AT has been transformed into a testing site, and teachers and staff from District 4 and District 88 will be able to make appointments and come for vaccines on Feb 17 & 18. As more and more people get vaccinated, teachers will patiently anticipate the monumental effects their small actions will have on the United States.