Art by Ellis Rougeou
The hope for a vaccine has been itching at the back of everyone’s mind since last March. In fact, I’m sure you already know which vaccine I am talking about. Reports about the process of research and invention would flash across our TVs for months, and now, finally, those who need it most are getting this long-awaited immunization. The process of making the vaccine that will return our lives to some version of normal was long and arduous, and I am very happy to have played a small part in it.
My mom found out about the third phase of the vaccine trial early last fall. The first two phases were for figuring out if the vaccine was safe to use and what kind of side effects came with it, but the third phase determines whether or not the vaccine does what it is meant to do. My mom volunteered to participate in the trial, and I volunteered within a week of the announcement that teenagers were allowed to join.
I didn’t consider the decision at all beforehand. I figured that the worst thing that could happen was some temporary, unpleasant (but minor) side effects, and the possibility of getting the vaccine outweighed any worries I had. Looking back, I probably should have taken more than a few seconds to mull over a decision that would involve injecting experimental substances into my body, but that’s all in the past now. I’ve had no adverse reactions to the injections, and contrary to the conspiracy theories, no weird chemical in it has given me superpowers.
I was approved for the trial almost immediately, and once every month since then I’ve gone to the fourth floor of CNS Healthcare for regular check-ups. Each one includes a COVID-19 test and a blood test, unless it is on the day of an injection, which has no tests at all. Each appointment is usually no more than 10 or 20 minutes, taking place in someone’s office that has bookshelves filled with files of volunteers. Every nurse and administrator there is swamped with work, but each of them takes the time to be kind whenever we have questions or concerns.
Pfizer is now revealing who got the real vaccine and who got the placebo, slowly working their way from the most at-risk volunteers down to the few minors who volunteered just out of interest. I will not know whether I got the vaccine or not until early-to-mid March.
Whether I got the placebo or the real vaccine, I’m glad I got to be a part of something this important, and I wouldn’t change a single hastily-made decision that brought me here. I’m proud that I’ll one day look back on this time and know I did the little I could to make things better.
For & By Students
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