More people in the Kaiser community have been receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations, including students, parents, and teachers. There is no clear number on how many teachers and students at Kaiser have gotten the vaccine, as their personal information is confidential. Even so, teachers and students have been sharing their vaccination experiences.
With increased vaccination rates, Kaiser is one step closer to all in-person learning. Once herd immunity is reached, the virus will not be a significant threat, and campus will be safe for full operation. Currently, well over 50% of the state of Hawaii has received at least one dose of vaccination, suggesting that herd immunity is forthcoming.
Vaccine receivers have argued various reasons for getting vaccinated. “Given the option of death (of myself or others caused by me getting COVID) or vaccine, I choose vaccine,” Kaiser teacher Elizabeth Ben said. Teacher Satoko Ragan agreed, and “was 100% confident about [the vaccine],” she said. In addition, she has complete faith in the scientists and studies that were reported on the news. Others said that they weren’t phased by the conspiracy theories, from DNA altering technology to government microchip tracking devices—as junior student Heather Sinclair puts it:“That’s ridiculous.”
The convenience of receiving the vaccine varied from person to person. “Both my scheduling and appointment process were not too long,” Sinclair said. “The vaccine site at the Blaisdell Center was very organized, and you get free parking.” Ragan had a different experience. “The slots in the first window filled quickly…I was feeling anxious…the wait in line was very long when I was there,” she said. This was similar to Ben’s experience, as “when it was first available to teachers, it was a bit of a pain to get an appointment,” Ben said. “It was inconvenient because the available times were Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM. I feel that if they really wanted essential workers to get vaccinated, it should be during the weekends or be open until 6 PM.”
Those who got the vaccine also had varying levels of physical discomfort afterwards, but fortunately none of them experienced more than mild pain. Both Ben and Ragan got chills and had a sore arm —Ragan also running a slight fever— but both of them said taking some Tylenol was enough to relieve them. “At school, Mr. Wachi (Ben’s classroom neighbor who also got vaccinated) and I were surprised at how good we felt,” Ben said. Sinclair even declared “I had less reaction to the COVID vaccine than a flu shot for my first dose,” she said.
“I am glad that I got the shots,” Ragan said. “I will still be cautious and follow all the rules, but I feel safer…many people worked hard to get the vaccination available to us so I am very thankful for them.” With every member of the Kaiser community who gets vaccinated, the risk of spreading COVID-19 throughout campus decreases, and the sooner we can resume school as usual. Ragan, Ben, and Sinclair all recommend getting vaccinated, “ but it is a choice, and I will respect people’s choice whether they decide to or not,” Ben said.
Contributed by Ashley Tsutsumi and Natalie Clay