An open letter to the unvaccinated

Mark Williams, Editor-in-Chief

 At our age, vaccination is probably something that you have never had a chance to make a decision on. For kids, that’s quite normal. But amidst COVID and the controversies that surround it, it is entirely possible that a student doesn’t agree with a parent’s decision.LOHSs about 90 percent vaccinated, which, to be clear, is quite high compared to most public schools. Regardless, in a class with 30 people, about three are unvaccinated. 27 out of 30 people will most likely not catch COVID but for the 3 out 30 remaining COVID can remain quite dangerous.

Well over a year ago, before vaccines were available I got the experience of what it is like to get COVID.  Thankfully, by what seems to be a miracle, I was the only one  in my family to ever get sick or test positive. While I was entirely fine, the experience was far worse than anything that happened when I got the vaccine. The symptoms started out pretty strong, headache, sore throat, fatigue, and an assortment of other normal cold symptoms. Within a few days, it got worse to the point where at moments I had significant difficulty breathing. I slept for up to 16 hours a day in a half-trance while improvement came excruciatingly slow in a room that was, in effect, solitary confinement. It stretched into its second week when finally, hope entered as I was able to smell again and within a few days, I became much better, though not completely recovered. Complete recovery took nearly a year as I was struck by long COVID. I did not feel well, I was tired constantly and I slept far longer than usual. What was worse than the physical effects, however, were the mental effects. One of the issues with COVID is that even after initial recovery, COVID can still linger in multiple organs, most notably the brain.

When online school started up I began to realize how much COVID had affected my brain. When I was asked to read a paragraph out loud in early quarter 1 of 2020 I simply failed and had to have a classmate start reading to save me. I struggled in math, working slower, and getting low grades on my tests in comparison to previous years. Memorization proved impossible in Biology and French. My English essays simply made no sense.

At the time, I was not vaccinated, nobody was, and no vaccine or cure existed. Eventually, a solution came. The way our bodies fend off disease is effectively recognizing a bad virus or cell. That’s why people could only get some diseases, such as chickenpox, once, and is also why parents have deliberately infected their children with chickenpox at an early age, a practice which often had dangerous results. Since we would not like to fight COVID to be immune to COVID, vaccines are a way for our immune systems to practice. Since my immune system had no practice COVID presented a real danger and left a range of lasting damages for months to come. A vaccine can prevent that and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been used since January. In the time since a majority of Americans have safely received the vaccine.

If you have not received the vaccine yet it is okay. It is wrong to think of the vaccine as anything other than a personal decision, a decision made in the best interest of yourself or (if you are a parent) your child. There are plenty of resources available to get more information on vaccines such as medically verified sources such as Johns Hopkins Medical School, The Mayo Clinic, and even local doctors offices. But even if the odds of dying of COVID are relatively slim, it does still happen, not to mention the lasting damage COVID can bring. Still, no matter what people are saying, the war is against COVID, not against each other and the primary goal is to keep each other and ourselves safe.