No winners in a game of COVID

Alejandra Rodriguez, Editor-in-Chief

Psychology teacher Nicole Smith had her children age 6 and age 9 receive the COVID vaccine on Nov. 7 at CVS. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Smith)

Junior Breannia Schultz begged her mom for permission to get vaccinated, but her mom refused because she was concerned about potential side effects. 

“She didn’t come up with this on her own,” Breannia said. “She got this from Facebook.”

Four weeks later Breannia tested positive for COVID. Breannia’s mother, who also got COVID, believes that the antibodies from the virus now will protect them both.

Breannia disagrees. “A part of me was, like, you know, maybe I was hoping I ended up in the hospital, but I don’t even know if that would change her mind.”

In contrast, FUHS psychology teacher Nicole Smith was excited to get her children vaccinated. She took her kids, ages 6 and 9, for their first COVID vaccine dose on Nov. 7. Both are doing fine and look forward to more freedom after their second doses next month.

At this point in the pandemic, most of us are quick to take sides. We’re either Team Vax or Team Anti-vax.

And although I’m willing to listen to the Anti-vax concerns, Team Vax is the winner.

Here’s why.

Yes, natural immunity is a thing and, sure, it matters. However, that immunity wanes. To build up significant immunity, the vaccine is necessary.

Yes, there are genuine parental concerns about side effects. It’s true that the sample size for children 5-11 was small at around 4,700. It’s true that 1 in 5,000 boys ages 12-15 showed signs of inflammation of the heart muscle. It’s true that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine showed a rare side effect of blood clots. 

Trust me, I understand how serious reactions to the COVID vaccine can be. My sister had a pretty severe reaction to the first dose of the Moderna vaccine when she turned a scary shade of purple. But instead of abandoning vaccination, she consulted medical professionals. Doctors were able to test for allergy and she was able to proceed safely with the second dose. She’s doing great. 

Doctors say the vaccine is worth the risk and I trust them. I mean, science has done a pretty good job of keeping us alive.

The problem is people who oppose the vaccine don’t accept the science. They call the experts liars then turn to conspiracies to justify their refusal. They argue that this has gone on for long enough and loosening mask wearing and not requiring the vaccine will make things better. It won’t. Just because students our age aren’t dying, like they say, it doesn’t mean COVID isn’t a problem. In Orange County 25 people died of COVID from Nov. 4-10. 

Unfortunately, the rivalry between Team Vax and Team Anti-vax is growing. This week Big Bird got vaccinated and Team Anti-vax cried, “Fowl Foul!” Quarterback Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID and Team Vax demanded, “Fire him!”

The real issue is that people don’t trust science and it’s terrifying.

Team Anti-vax players need to go to a doctor. Not their so-called team doctors, but credible medical professionals. Don’t go on social media, blogs, or trust the word of those who call themselves experts when they aren’t.

Yes, I’m on Team Vax but I’m also rooting for the underdog Team Healthy & Safe.

Reporter Amanda Toledo contributed to this story