Athens Drive staff, students begin to receive COVID-19 vaccine


Photos by Crystal Pittman

Crystal Pittman, special education teacher at Athens Drive poses with her vaccination card for receiving the Moderna vaccine.

The emergence of the COVID-19 vaccine is just the thing that could return life to normal and could potentially put an end to coronavirus. This pandemic has had a profound effect on people all around the world. What began as a seemingly small outbreak has transformed into a global lockdown and pause on what life was known to be. A startling amount of cases and deaths worldwide has prompted some of the top scientists and doctors in the world to work together to come up with a solution. 

For Sherry Wantz, biology and anatomy teacher at Athens Drive, receiving the vaccination was a fairly lengthy process. After two cancellations, and lots of rescheduling and driving, she was finally able to receive a vaccine in Clayton on the third try.

“The shot did not hurt at all. The only effect I had at all was a little bit of a sore arm,” said Wantz.

This is not unusual with the first shot. According to Medical News Today, the first dose of the vaccine produces a weaker immune system response when compared with the second dose. This generally results in little pain after the first one and some side effects for a day or two after the second. Nonetheless, Wantz was satisfied with her decision.

“I am very happy I got the shot. I see it as the only way this country is going to open back up and get back to a little bit of normalcy,” said Wantz.

There are also different options for receiving the vaccine, two specifically being the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Wantz received the Moderna vaccine. Each of these vaccines deliver genetic material from the coronvirus’s protein into human cells, so that the immune system knows what to do if it were to encounter the virus in the future. The Pfizer vaccine has a 95% efficacy, compared to Moderna’s 94.1%.

Gracie White, senior at Athens Drive, had a similar experience receiving the vaccine, except for her process being significantly shorter and receiving the Pfizer vaccine instead of Moderna. She admired how organized and quick the facility was, as she was in and out in less than 30 minutes.

“I am nervous for the second vaccine, though, because I’ve heard it’s supposed to hurt. But it’s important I get it for the safety of myself and those around me,” said White.

White believes that if everyone receives the vaccine, public gatherings can be made a lot more comfortable and normal again. The vaccine is a way for people to live their lives without the constant fear and anxiety of coming into contact with someone who has coronavirus.

“I am satisfied having gotten the shot. I feel safer going out and I’m lucky to have gotten it,” said White.

The speed at which vaccines can be released to the public contributes a huge amount to their effectiveness. The quicker people recieve it, the less of a threat coronavirus becomes to society.

But there are still many questions to be answered about the vaccine presently. Being vaccinated does not mean that everyone can just disregard regulations on social distancing and wearing masks. Speculation has also risen concerning any potential side effects from the vaccine in five, 10, or even 20 years. However, scientists and organizations from across the world have put endless time, money, and work into producing a vaccine that could be the ultimate solution to this pandemic.

“I got the vaccine, not just for the security of myself, but for the safety of those around me. I encourage everyone to get it because it’ll only be more effective as more people receive the vaccine,” said White.