By Morgan Monesmith
I asked a couple of teachers in the HB community to write about their experience with getting vaccinated after their first dose. Here are their responses:
I felt very lucky that teachers in Ohio were so high on the vaccine eligibility list. Given our necessary presence in schools and how many people we must interact with every day, it makes sense that we would be relatively high priority. While I might not have personally been at high risk of serious illness or harm, I could still be a carrier of the virus and unknowingly spread it to more vulnerable people – both teachers and/or students. Hopefully, one day soon, enough of my friends, family, and colleagues will have gotten the vaccine that we might return to some semblance of normalcy. Until then, I (and all of us) must remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions to ensure we aren’t doing harm.
It was very exciting and surreal to get the vaccine a few weeks ago. First, it was really nice to see so many HB faculty and staff members all in one place, since we truly haven’t been together as coworkers since last March. The vaccine center was very well set up and organized, and all of the people working there were incredibly friendly. It truly felt like we were part of something historic. The vaccine itself was very quick and painless. Then, we got to sit in a room and wait for about fifteen minutes before we could leave. The whole process was seamless and left me in awe of our doctors, scientists, and nurses. Other than a sore arm, I did not experience side effects. Each dose makes us one step closer to herd immunity and to resuming greater normalcy. However, it is important that vaccinated people continue to mask, social distance, and abide by COVID protocols, as being vaccinated does not prevent someone from transmitting the virus to someone else. I believe that masks will be a part of our future for a long time to come. I am so grateful to have received the first dose of the vaccine as it does give me some peace of mind as I go about my work on a daily basis.
How did you feel about getting vaccinated?
I felt very happy and relieved!
Did you have any adverse side effects?
I felt tired 6 hours after my shot and my arm hurt so I took some Tylenol and slept.
Do you think teachers should have had more, less, or the same priority that you did with vaccinations?
I think the same as I received. It makes sense that front-line workers were first, then the elderly. Obviously, you want to vaccinate people working in schools so I’m glad that teachers were given priority in that sense.
Will being vaccinated change how you interact with students and or family?
While it does give me peace of mind, I will continue the same social distance and masking practices I had before my vaccine as I want to protect those around me and reach herd immunity.
Vaccines save lives. I looked forward to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine for months before the clinical trials and approval process even began. I understood the whole world would need to be vaccinated and there would not be enough vaccine doses for 7.8 billion people the instant the FDA approved the vaccine. I am grateful to be included in Ohio’s 1-B vaccination priority. I am also grateful I did not have to be part of the team determining eligibility priority – based on number of doses, vulnerability to exposure, health factors, etc. The decisions about how to prioritize distribution of the (now 3!) FDA approved vaccines involve complex logistics, public pressure, and ethics. As a teacher in Cuyahoga County – I just needed to go to the assigned vaccination center at the assigned time. The process I experienced was incredibly well organized and efficient. The shot itself was so easy; honestly stubbing my toe is more painful with longer discomfort. While I anxiously await my second dose of the vaccine, I know I am incredibly lucky. I am one of the first in my friend group who will be vaccinated, though one of the last adults in my family to gain immunity. How being vaccinated will change my daily life will likely be more mental than anything. I will be less nervous about exposing those around me, who are vaccinated. I think warmer weather will allow me to have more in-person interactions with friends and family as we socially distance around fire pits in our backyards. Because vaccines save lives and they will be there to socially distance in person with.