COVID-19 Vaccine Plan: Where Do High School Students Come In?


Sturdy Memorial Hospital via Creative Commons License

Several are left with questions as the plans for the COVID-19 vaccine are announced.

With the recent creation and distribution of the new COVID-19 vaccine, one major question remains to school-aged children, “Where will I be eligible?”

There are 3 phases of eligibility for the vaccine, determined by profession, health, and age. These are spread out over time, and each phase is initiated at a different time. But, those under sixteen have been given no indication of when the vaccine will become available, which has led to concerns.

As of now, there are 3 current phases of eligibility. The first phase was set to be in place from December 2020 to February 2021 and included all types of health care workers. The second phase was set to be in place from February to March 2021 and included those who are 65 and older, those with health conditions, teachers, and those working in essential places. The third phase is set to be in place in April 2021 and includes the general public.

But, the two current COVID-19 vaccines have an age restriction. The Pfizer vaccine is currently only authorized for those 16+, while the Moderna vaccine is only authorized for those 18+. 

When asked about whether or not the vaccine would become available for those under 16, Buker school nurse Mrs. Lisa Druskat said, “One of the two vaccine types has started studying the age group 12 and up with their vaccine, so, unfortunately, it may still be some time. This is a huge interest of peoples, to get everyone vaccinated. So I’m sure it’s in the works. But, as when it’s going to happen, it needs to be studied first, so we don’t know as of right now”. 

It may take a while for everyone to be vaccinated and to achieve herd immunity, which is necessary for life to return back to normal. 

“With herd immunity, we need to have a certain percentage of the population vaccinated to provide protection to all of us as a group, and I don’t really think we can achieve herd immunity without children being a part of that,” said Druskat.

There is a strong possibility of returning to school full time in the fall without all students being vaccinated.  This worries some students. 

Freshman Grace Barclay said, “I feel like returning to school full time without the vaccine would be the same as going back in April 2020, and would basically reverse all the quarantining and virtual learning everyone did. Things would go back to how they were, with high levels of cases.”

As of March 2021, 2,863,460 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Massachuesstes, and that number will continue to rise over time. 

Advancements will continue to be made, but whether students are vaccinated or not, the safety and health of students remains the top priority for schools.