High schoolers unmasked

Three juniors share their experience being vaccinated against COVID-19


Photo by Abby Bunch

As the school year comes to a close and summer activities ramp up, high school students are beginning to get vaccinated along with the adult population.

Story by Phoebe Neff, copy editor

Nearly a year after an outbreak took hold of the world, the COVID-19 vaccine is sweeping across the nation in a similar fashion — but with the opposite effect. Nearly 160 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose, and cases have been declining for five weeks in a row as a result. Among those getting vaccinated are a number of students from Texas High with the common desire to keep themselves and others safe.

“I wanted to be able to keep myself and others, especially my family, safe,” Will Anderson said. “I go to in-person school, so there’s a lot of risk there. I have family with conditions that make them really vulnerable.”

This sentiment of wishing to protect others is seemingly unanimous among some vaccinated students.

“I just don’t wanna be responsible for getting more people extremely sick,” Alison Head said. “I don’t wanna be the cause of someone’s grandma dying.”

During the peak of the pandemic, many people, including Abby Bunch, had to witness her loved ones battle the coronavirus.

“I had to watch multiple loved ones fight COVID-19, and a few of them almost lost their lives fighting it. I also am in close contact daily with people who are considered high risk,” Bunch said. “So I’d definitely say my biggest reason was to keep others around me safe from the virus.”

But it’s not just about altruism and protecting others: according to the students, there are a number of benefits to being in the same group as 48% of the country.

“I’d definitely say the biggest perk is not having to be as paranoid about the virus in general,” Bunch said. “I’m not as worried about getting sick myself or accidentally transmitting it to someone else unknowingly.”

Anderson’s perks to being vaccinated regard something that’s been prevalent since the start of the pandemic.

“I like not having to wear a mask all the time, since now the CDC guidelines say you don’t need to wear a mask [most places] if you’re fully vaccinated,” Anderson said. “I’ll probably still wear mine, but it’s nice to know that there’s not nearly as much risk in not wearing it anymore.”

Like Bunch, Head also takes joy in knowing she can be less nervous about getting sick.

“Whenever I don’t feel good, I know that I don’t COVID,” Head said. “Also, just the fact that I can’t get anyone sick is really lovely to me. I had literally no hesitation [to get vaccinated].” 

In regards to hesitation, there has been a very large number of voices expressing concerns over the vaccine. However, Bunch believes that there’s no need to be vaccine-hesitant.

“Honestly, I wasn’t hesitant at all. I’m a huge believer in science,” Bunch said. “By the time my age group was allowed to get it, I felt it had been tested enough to where I didn’t really have to worry.”

Unlike Bunch, Anderson had some concerns in the beginning like many others. But similar to Bunch, he came around because of the science.

“At first I was concerned about whether it was safe or not since it was pushed out so quickly,” Anderson said. “But once I put in the research, then that changed my mind.”

Vaccine hesitancy has been a big frustration for many advocates of the shot, including Head. When asked about how she felt about those who refuse to get vaccinated, she said, “I think those people are stupid and ignorant. I mean, it’s a vaccine. It’s going to not only protect you but also protect everyone else around you from getting horribly sick.”

Those who advocate for the vaccine believe it’s important that as many people as possible need to be vaccinated to return to safety across the globe that for every person who gets vaccinated, there’s a higher chance that someone will be saved.

“Think of how many people [getting vaccinated] could potentially save,” Bunch said. “By getting vaccinated, you’re potentially saving someone’s parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, et cetera. Everyone is someone to somebody.”