Pali Students Weigh COVID-19 Vaccine Options

With the Pfizer vaccine officially becoming available to everyone 12 years or older, the door opened for Pali students to get vaccinated. At this time, proof of vaccination is not necessary for returning to in-person learning, however some Pali students have elected to do so.  

“I have a lot of high risk family members. My grandma is older and my mom has really bad asthma, so as a young person, it felt like getting the vaccine was something I needed to do to keep my family safe,” sophomore Brynn Green, 16, said. “Even if getting the vaccine is something that has a tiny chance of harming me in the long run, it’s a risk I have to take because it’s important for the people around me to be safe at this time,” she added.

Senior Riley Gutheim, 18, got the Pfizer vaccine in early April. At the urging of her mother, who is a nurse, Gutheim said she originally opted to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is available to people 18 years and older. However, Gutheim said she canceled her appointment at the last minute after her mother expressed some concerns about the one-dose vaccine.

“It was unnerving when a couple days after I would have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, reports came out that it can cause blood clots in some cases, so I was very thankful I didn’t get it,” Gutheim said. 

According to an April 12 Center for Disease Control and Prevention report, only six of the 6.8 million people who took this Johnson & Johnson vaccine experienced blood clots.

Still, Gutheim’s reaction shows the trepidation some people have about taking the vaccines, which were made available after the Food and Drug Administration used its Emergency Use Authorization powers to speed efforts to get people vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible.

Gutheim got her first dose at a clinic in Crenshaw and had to wait more than two hours for her shot even though she had scheduled an appointment. “It was a really messy process,” Gutheim said. “And people were frequently walking in with no appointments at all.” 

She received her second dose three weeks later in Brentwood, adding that she only had to wait 30 minutes. 

Sophomore Dylan Prudente, 16, said he received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Southwest College on April 16. He said that the process went smoothly. 

“It was an organized operation with more than 20 people giving the vaccine each on different levels of the parking lot,” Prudente said, “so I think the whole thing was done pretty well.” 

Sophomore Kimiya Natan, 16, is old enough to get the vaccine but has decided not to schedule an appointment just yet. Her mom got the vaccine and was sick for days, which concerned Natan who said she did not want to risk getting side effects so close to the national AP European History exam.

“I’ve devoted all of this time these past two semesters all for this one test,” she said, “so I really don’t want to risk getting sick or feeling sore around the time of the test.”