I will receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to me (Opinion)

There has been much debate over the COVID-19 vaccine and whether it is safe to receive or not. Here is why I have made the personal decision to receive the vaccine when it is released for my age group.


Marina Goter

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two shots given 21 days apart, and the Moderna vaccine requires two shots given 28 days apart.

After first being released and utilized by healthcare workers on Dec. 14, COVID-19 vaccines were distributed to public health facilities and offered to the public under certain guidelines: no individual under the age of 16 can get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, none under 18 for Moderna, until a later unknown date.

Due to the ongoing debate involving rumors about the COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution, I have done my own personal research and come to the conclusion that I will be receiving the vaccine (when it’s available to me) to keep myself and those around me safe.

While some say that the rate at which the vaccine was developed and released makes it less credible, I disagree. There are modern factors that need to be considered, such as the fact that COVID-19 vaccines received private funding from large corporations, new vaccine technology has increased the rate at which development occurs, and some of the best known doctors and scientists were hired to work on the vaccines.

But as soon as they were released, criticism of their speedy development exploded in prominence, even though many had been relying on vaccines to save the globe from this ongoing spread.

Though it is true that the vaccines were developed quicker than previous vaccines (it was ready in under a year, and many other vaccines can take up to 10 years), we must consider the state that the world was (and still is in) — this is clearly an extremely serious crisis we’re living through.

The facts are this: no doctor, no scientist, and no governmental official skipped any step in the vaccine development or acceptance process. Modern technology is naturally going to speed up the process, and with the additional corporation funds and the panicked state of our world, officials worked even harder to release it as soon as they possibly could while keeping it safe through testing and trials.

This does not mean any corners were cut or any steps skipped over.

Additionally, with the release of the vaccine at such a speedy rate, people formed many speculations about what the messenger RNA (mRNA) would do to their bodies. Some have claimed it will imbed itself into your DNA cells and change your DNA, that doctors have been “hiding” the percentage rates of brain damage that came from accepting the vaccine, and so much more.

But what seems to be forgotten is basic scientific knowledge and personal research. Though I don’t believe the public’s fears are unwarranted, they’re simply not based on factual evidence.

Yes, the trials done by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other federal corporations were significantly shorter than previous vaccine trials. But no pieces of the process were skipped during development or testing. Not a single step was ignored.

“Clinical trials for all vaccines must first show they meet rigorous criteria for safety and effectiveness before any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, can be authorized or approved for use,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There are currently two COVID-19 vaccines distributed through shots that use messenger RNA and have been officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration: the Pfizer-BioNTech shot and the Moderna shot.

Both are actually scientifically incapable of giving you the COVID-19 virus, though there can be temporary mild side effects like chills and a slight fever. These side effects are rare and almost never anywhere near life threatening.

Besides, if one is concerned about possible (and extremely unlikely) severe reactions after receiving the vaccine, they must also consider that having coronavirus — or, even worse, passing the coronavirus to those at high risk — is also deadly.

Mayo Clinic said, “The COVID-19 vaccines currently being developed in the U.S. don’t use the live virus that causes COVID-19.”

Instead of using weakened or dead versions of the COVID virus, these two vaccines use a synthesized scrap of genetic information. This tells your cells to create a protein with an immune response to the virus. This protein does not — I repeat, does not — change any genetic codes or DNA in any way, shape, or form.

So when your friend tells you that the vaccine might change your gender or hair color or mess with your DNA sequence, they probably got that off of TikTok, and you should double-check their sources. There is truly no need to panic because these rumors are simply not true.

Due to the use of mRNA as opposed to weakened coronavirus in these shots, the process has been a little less traditional. A lot of the development for mRNA vaccines is scientific as opposed to solely based on consecutive trial runs, though many trials were still run on both vaccines. Due to its overall lower need to constantly test and change, mRNA vaccines are generally developed quicker. And with a raging pandemic going on, scientists, doctors, and governmental programs moved even quicker to keep us healthy and safe.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved by the FDA as any other vaccine would be. It is currently being distributed to those over the age of 16.

The Moderna vaccine has also been approved through many clinical trials and reports by the FDA. It is being distributed to those over the age of 18.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been proven to be 95% effective in FDA reviews, and the Moderna vaccine has proven to be 94.1% effective.

Even with these high efficacy rates, it is important to note that one needs to continue wearing a mask and social distancing even after receiving the vaccine as the percentage of the public with immunity needs to be much higher before the spread will stop.

When I personally put it in perspective, I would rather take the risk of possibly having some minor, temporary side effects than continue to be involved — as safe as I try to be — in the spread of COVID-19. I want to protect my family, my friends, my community, and everyone else that I come into contact with. To do that, I will be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine either when the age range limits shift downwards or when I enter the age range necessary to become vaccinated.

As said by the CDC, “The known and potential benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine must outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine.”

With 3,000 Americans on average dying every day from COVID-19, I have made the personal decision to do my part to stop the spread.