Queens high school students speak out following arrival of new COVID-19 vaccine

FILE PHOTO: A woman receives the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine jabs, at Guy’s Hospital in London
A woman receives the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine jabs, at Guy’s Hospital, at the start of the largest ever immunisation programme in the British history, in London, Britain December 8, 2020.
Victoria Jones/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo


As COVID-19 cases once again surge in Queens, the FDA-approved Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is bringing hope to a borough once home to the epicenter of the pandemic.

Many believe the vaccine’s creation signals a bright future. Though some express skepticism toward its hurried production, countless studies have shown the vaccine to be effective and safe in clinical trials. Beyond an allergic reaction in one person in the United States, there have been no adverse events reported.

Queens high school students demonstrated polarity within their views of the vaccine upon being asked whether they would take it or not.

“I would take it once I’m sure there are no harmful side effects so I can play sports again,” said Justin Lau, a student at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School. “But if I was not sure [about the safety of the vaccine], I would not take it since personal health is a bigger priority.”

The vaccine feels like a risk, he continued, especially because its creation process was so rushed. It is impossible to know about any long-term dangers at the moment, according to Lau.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addressed the quick timeframe in which the vaccine was created on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.

“People understandably are skeptical about the speed, but we have to keep emphasizing speed means the science was extraordinary,” Fauci said.

At St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, where vaccinations for frontline workers began earlier this week, none of the 175 people who have received the vaccine have reported any adverse reaction.

Other Queens students displayed more optimistic attitudes regarding the plausibility of the vaccine.

Samuel Kim, a junior at Bayside High School who has been working at a relative’s store during the pandemic, looked to the FDA for the vaccine’s credibility.

“I think it is promising,” he stated. “The FDA did approve Pfizer’s vaccine and I have little doubt about it, although it is one of the fastest vaccines to be created.”

However, Kim, like many others, decided that he would wait until the vaccine’s safety was confirmed by a reliable population. There could be downsides that are yet to be known, he said.

Supinder Kaur, a junior at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, said she is eager to take the vaccine.

“I am hopeful and would heavily consider [taking the vaccine]”, Kaur said.

Kaur asserted that the FDA’s approval of the vaccine’s production significantly bolsters its credibility. Despite the arrival of the vaccine, she said that social distancing should still be maintained in order to achieve solid progress in quieting the pandemic.

The vaccine is first being distributed to frontline healthcare workers who are most exposed to the virus.

This story first appeared on our sister publication qns.com.