Get vaccinated (once it’s your turn)

Courtesy to GVSU

Courtesy to GVSU

Lanthorn Editorial Board

At long last, there are multiple, viable COVID-19 vaccines. But that’s old news – we were excited about this when last semester ended, a month ago – and now, we’re seeing the complications that many public health officials warned us about. There have been some initial hiccups in the rollout process that resulted in a sluggish inoculation process, and there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding the vaccine itself. 

The clamor is enough to make many worry, but even more troubling are the Americans who are fearful enough to avoid the vaccine like the plague. However, if you cut through the misconceptions and lies, you land at a very clear destination: do your part, get vaccinated. 

Up until recently, there have been large amounts of the vaccine sitting in storage. A week ago, however, the Trump administration made a few changes to their rollout plan, encouraging states to expand the pool of people eligible for the vaccine and distributing vaccines to states according to the number of people 65 years old and older, instead of their general adult population. 

In Kent County, according to Michigan.gov’s Vaccine Dashboard, the area has already distributed 50,400 vaccines in total, 42,900 Pfizer and 7,500 Moderna vaccines. The largest age group of recipients is 50-59 years, with more women reported having gotten the vaccine than men thus far. 

Now that the people who are most susceptible to COVID-19 are likely to be vaccinated at a faster rate, we’re closer to the vaccine being made available to everyone else. “Everyone else” includes the staff, students, faculty at GVSU who won’t be vaccinated already. 

This early in the vaccination process, it was understood that older and at-risk individuals would be receiving the first initial doses available, but as the work continues, our hope is that college-age students at GVSU and beyond will take advantage of their vaccination opportunities as soon as they arise. 

But admittedly for students, getting the vaccine is still a long way away, especially as many of us are considered low risk, thus setting us further down the timeline. Despite this, there are two simple things you can do to make sure we’re inoculated and life returns to normal as soon as we safely can.

First, have conversations with those around you. As many of us spent winter break with families, we’ve been privy to concerns from those around us. Point people to trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization or local health departments and encourage them to protect those around them – from older members of your family to vulnerable people they pass in the store. Recognizing and researching who you may put at risk in your life and how, including yourself, is an important step in understanding how you can make a difference. 

Second, get tested. This week is the last week of repopulation testing on campus, so if you qualify, take a few minutes to come to campus. When members of the Lanthorn got tested, it took four minutes to go through the process from start to finish. With the amount of time we spend swiping aimlessly through Instagram or TikTok, there’s no excuse to find the time. 

With the COVID-19 death toll in the United States nearing 400,000, it’s more important than ever for people of all ages to take stock of their health. For students, the ongoing obstacles with college life and the pandemic will hopefully soon only be college life challenges. We encourage every student to choose proactivity instead of silence, and encourage friends and peers to do the same. With the arrival of the vaccine, there is now more hope that students will seize the opportunity, and be able to get back to some semblance of normalcy, but this can only happen for all of us if we can collectively take that shot.