16 or under? No COVID-19 vaccine for you


Josh Dexter, Staff Writer

If you’re planning to be injected with any of the three COVID-19 vaccines, unless you’re at least 16 years old, you are out of luck.

One of the most important things about the vaccine is that people under 16 will not be permitted to get the vaccine until after “Phase 1c” occurs. Under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ rollout plan, Phase 1c people, aged 65 to 74, will be vaccinated first and those aged 16- 64 will be vaccinated second in the stage. The final phase will include other essential workers such as transportation and construction workers. The CDC is doing it best to rid our community of COVID-19,  but sophomore Christian Garcia remains worried about catching the disease.

“As soon as I found out that I couldn’t get the vaccine until my birthday, I was pretty bummed,” he said. “Not only for my own sake, but also because more than half of the school is under 16, meaning that it still wouldn’t be completely safe to return even after the vaccine was released.”

If Garcia were to catch COVID-19, he would run the risk of infecting others at school who are also under 16, since he can’t get the vaccine until his birthday. Still, Garcia said he trusts in Floridians to do their part.

“Numbers are still rising in Florida and I’ve been sitting on the computer most of my day just watching it all crumble,” he said. “I just hope that people around here actually get vaccinated so that this whole thing blows over more quickly.”

Unlike Garcia, junior Ayush Maddikonda, who is 16, said he plans to get vaccine when available but is worried about about the newness of the drug.

“I might wait for others to take the vaccine since I want to be aware of any possible effects just to be safe,” he said. “But I’ll probably get the vaccine when it’s available.”

Ayush said he’s comfortable with people under the age of 16 being excluded from taking the vaccine.

“I think it makes sense because I’ve heard the testing on younger people has been minimal because adults are usually the ones receiving these tests and trials first,” he said.

 According to www.CDC.gov, The CDC’s primary goals to fight COVID-19 is to “decrease death and serious disease as much as possible,” “preserve functioning of society” and “reduce the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities.”

Sophomore Erick Sanz remains hopeful regarding the CDC plan.

“It makes sense why people under sixteen won’t be prioritized for vaccination since we’re the least vulnerable to COVID-19, we will probably be the last to receive it,” Sanz said. “The elderly and doctors will be first because they’re most likely to get COVID, however some people our age still participate in parties and stuff which leaves them at a higher risk of getting COVID as well.” 

But Sanz said he is worried for students under 16 because some participate in activities and they don’t socially distance or wear masks, two vital procedures to reduce COVID-19 spread.

“I believe that people under 16 should not be receiving the vaccine first because there are others that need it before us, but we also need to protect ourselves better because we could potentially be harming ourselves and loved ones to,” he said

In light of the limitations on who can be vaccinated, Garcia remains hesitant to return to campus.

 “I don’t know much about what’s going on is school since I’m an e-learner,” he said. “One thing that I do know is that I’m scared to go back to school.”