The beginning of the end

Millard West students receive the COVID-19 vaccine


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

The COVID-19 vaccine is a crucial component as the nation works toward normalcy. As Nebraska goes into phase two of the vaccination protocol some Millard West students are eligible to receive the vaccine. And as pharmaceutical companies continue clinical trials the vaccine will hopefully be available to all students.

Annabelle Harshbarger, Staff Reporter

The long-awaited “end” to the pandemic seems to be ever so slowly approaching as vaccines continue to be administered worldwide. With over 51 million Americans fully vaccinated and around 17% of Nebraskans vaccinated, the future’s looking bright. All Millard West staff was eligible for the vaccine in early March. The question now arises: when will all students be able to get the vaccine?

 Currently, Nebraska is working on phase two of the vaccination protocol. Residents ages 16-49 are eligible for the vaccine if they are essential workers or meet any of the other requirements. Some students who work at grocery stores or other essential businesses have already received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I was able to be vaccinated because I work at Hyvee,” junior Addison Smith said. “I wanted to get vaccinated because I wanted to do my part in getting us to the end of the pandemic as soon as possible. I want to be able to go to hang out with big groups of friends or see my grandparents without putting them in danger. I can’t wait to live life normally again, and I think getting the vaccine is a big step towards that freedom.”

Earlier this month, President Biden announced that all adults will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, meaning that the nation is on a path to be back to normal by early July. While it is still unclear when the vaccine will be available to children and teenagers under the age of 16, all three major pharmaceutical companies have begun the clinical testing to make this possible. Pfizer has begun testing on children from the ages of 12-15 to see if there are any booster shots or modifications that need to be made to the vaccine before it can be used on children. They recently announced that the vaccine 

It is unknown when the vaccine will be available to all ages, but as it becomes available to some of Millard West students, the school will become safer and hopefully see a drop in positive coronavirus cases.

It has been a great relief to see the rapid dissemination of vaccines throughout our country and our community,” Principal Greg Tiemann said. “All of the Millard West staff has had the opportunity now to get the vaccine and that has been a great relief.”  

Although children and teenagers are at a lower risk for COVID-19 it is still extremely important for them to be immunized in order to reach herd immunity. A study done by the Centers for Disease Control and prevention routinely collected blood tests for children under the age of 18 in the state of Michigan. They found that while there had only been 9,000 positive cases reported between the month of May and September, antibodies found in the blood suggested that there had been around 114,000 had been infected by the virus. 

“I’m concerned that the national average of positive cases is rising in young people, Tieman said. “Recently, the number of students with positive cases has risen in the last few weeks, akin to the numbers we saw in last fall’s surge. I think it’s important for all eligible people to get vaccinated, especially with reported cases of variants. We just don’t know what the long-term toll these infections can have on our bodies so stopping the spread by getting a vaccine is very important.”  

As clinical trials continue and the vaccine becomes more readily available to the public, more and more Millard West students will be eligible to receive the vaccine. This will make school a safer place for students and staff and we will slowly be able to return to normalcy.