Students sound off on vaccination rollout

As this hectic school year draws to an end for AHS students, Summer Break is looking to be the only chance that students have to gain back some of the fun that COVID took from them this year.
“After I’m done with school and I get my college decisions, I’m definitely gonna try to hang out with my friends as much as possible however I can,” senior Johnny Rodriguez said.
But, even as students plan hangouts with friends, the threat of COVID and mask mandates still hold back students from enjoying themselves as if there was no pandemic at all.
To go back to those maskless hangouts and having more stores being open, vaccines are the closest anyone can get to being back towards those kinds of hangouts.
And while vaccine distribution has improved a lot since their release to the public in December of last year, the vaccine distribution for students under 18 is a lot less clear than some students might hope.
It is currently the case that the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for ages 18 and up, while students that are ages 16 or older should get the Pfizer vaccine.
While this does provide a chance for Annandale students to get that non-socially distant summer, the CDC does specify that, “efforts are focusing on children ages 16+ who have one or more CDC-listed chronic conditions that are associated with poor outcomes from COVID-19 and live in a community with a higher risk of COVID exposure based on community prevalence of COVID-19.”
For many students, this means waiting longer until they can resume their regular lives again.
However, for students with pre-existing conditions under the added threat of COVID, this pushes up the vaccination waiting line that could help take care of one issue and become a definite course of action in the coming months.
This is a sentiment mirrored by senior Anon Rahman.
“I’m definitely going to apply for the vaccine, so that maybe in a few months I can hang out with my friends without worrying about my asthma on top of COVID,” Rahman said.
But, students without pre-existing health conditions have their patience tested yet again, becoming frustrated by being put back in a situation where they are expected to sit back and follow rules.
“I remember I was really excited when I found out that people over 18 can get all three vaccines since I’m turning 18 myself soon,” senior Wasiq Ali said. “After finding out the pre-existing condition requirement, it sucks having to go back to waiting again, but I think it’s fair because people with a pre-existing condition are more at risk.”
COVID makes things even harder because last year when the class of 2020 did not get their prom nor graduation, we thought for sure that this pandemic would have been over. This vaccine also gave the Class of 2021 false hope.
One of the most important ceremonies of our lives will not be the same. Twelve years waiting for this day and once again ruined by COVID 19. Even if the Class of 2021 has the chance to have a ceremony, it wouldn’t be the same.
Masks would be required, distance would be kept, the amount of capacity would be lower; walking the stage would not feel the same.
“I was never a really big fan of prom, but graduation and being able to walk across the stage was always a dream of mine,” senior Isabella Rodas said. “Graduation or not, I look forward to the next chapter and I hope we can go back to our normal lives soon.”
For school next year, it seems as if there will be higher chances of having a normal high school life as FCPS has already announced in-school learning 5 days a week.
Infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci has also stated that it looks like high school students will be able to get vaccinated by the beginning of fall 2021.
So, as the school year ends and Summer Break grows even closer for the students at Annandale, the vaccine seems like it’s the only way to be able to take full advantage of that summer.
But, as with everything during a pandemic, uncertainty still lingers and causes the vision for vaccines and a carefree summer to become a much foggier one.