The Truth About Vaccinations: As Told by Harriton Students

Arielle Biran

During the last year, every aspect of COVID-19, including mask-wearing, restrictions, and even the virus’s existence has been politicized. With Pfizer seeking FDA approval for their 12-15 vaccine, and the ongoing investigation regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, COVID-19 vaccinations have become the latest weapon in this war between parties.

At a time when the line between fact and opinion becomes harder to navigate by the day, it is essential that people receive information from a source that they can trust. To combat this spread of misinformation, I present the vaccination experiences of five Harriton students and my overall conclusion based on their accounts.

To protect the privacy and legal rights of our sources, we do not disclose the names of these students, but The Harriton Banner affirms the validity of these sources.

A Harriton sophomore received the Pfizer vaccine and recounts traveling a long distance for their first dose. They remarked that the entire process, including checking in, waiting in line, and receiving the shot, only took fifteen minutes.

They experienced side effects such as dizziness, arm soreness, and fatigue, which was extremely mild compared to what they endured three weeks later. Although they had no initial reaction from their second vaccine, they describe waking up the morning after with a body ache, an inconsistent headache, a cold, an arm soreness, and a loss of appetite.

Though these effects were unpleasant, they revealed that the symptoms had dissipated in mere days after receiving their second dose, and at the end of the day, they deemed the vaccine “totally worth it!”

A Harriton senior described receiving their first dose of the Moderna vaccine as “anticlimactic,” as they had been waiting for the moment where they were finally able to be vaccinated for over a year. The moderate symptoms that they felt after receiving this first shot paled in comparison to the coughing, fatigue, and dizziness that they experienced after their second shot.

These effects took this student out of school for two days, but they did not express any regret about getting the vaccine. In fact, when prompted on their overall experience with the vaccine, they answered, “It definitely made me feel more relieved, because now I feel like we’re taking really tangible steps to normalcy, and I’m excited for more and more people to get vaccinated!”

A Harriton junior was vaccinated at a nearby distribution center and was relieved that the only side effect they experienced was arm soreness after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Their second shot, however, was a different story, with symptoms such as high fevers, muscle pain, and an extreme case of chills.

Regardless of this discomfort, this student viewed their experience as “certainly worth it,” adding, “Enduring 36 hours of fatigue and discomfort, lessened with the use of Advil, was nothing short of necessary when you consider the benefits of the vaccine.”

Since being vaccinated, this student reports being able to safely see family and friends, partake in extracurricular activities, and strongly encourages any eligible Harriton student to look into potential eligibility and nearby vaccination sites.

Another Harriton sophomore described their vaccination experience as “all-around very successful.” They revealed that they received both doses at a nearby CVS and felt nothing but a sore arm and fatigue after their first dose.

A few weeks later, upon receiving their second dose, the side effects they experienced were not more extreme, although they did have a sore arm for the two days following the shot with slight chills as well. This student says that they are “Looking forward to being able to see friends who are also vaccinated in a more relaxed setting.” They describe feeling “Excited to see how the world will change regarding social distancing requirements as more and more people become vaccinated.”

Another Harriton senior echoes a similar sentiment regarding their vaccination experience. Experiencing only arm soreness with their first dose did not properly prepare them for the effects of the second dose. This student describes their experience with the second dose as “pretty awful,” explaining that they felt extremely sick for the entire day following the shot and that they encountered all of the typical side effects, with a fever being the most prominent.

Nonetheless, they still recommend anyone who is eligible to get vaccinated, judging the entire process as “very worth it” overall.

These five students of varying ages received different vaccines, but their attitudes regarding the process were more or less the same. After talking to each student about their experiences, all seemed to feel mild symptoms after their first dose and more extreme symptoms after their second; regardless of the severity of what they experienced, they each whole-heartedly endorsed the vaccine.

As the Pfizer 12-15 vaccine becomes available, and more vaccines become available for those 16+, all students should consider carefully, with their parents, whether any possible risks outweigh the benefits.