NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

COVID-19 consolation: Vaccine is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel 

On Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for emergency use in the United States.  

For many, this is a long-awaited relief and for others a cause for further concern.  
Jocelyn Avila, 20, of North Andover, says she would like to get the vaccine after seeing how it works for others.  
Mirrorajah Metcalfe, 19, of Haverhill is hesitant to receive the vaccine once she becomes eligible. “It feels all too rushed,” she says.  
Andrew Venditti, 21, from Haverhill, plans on getting the vaccine eventually and shared that his mom has already received her first dose and the only side effect has been “an itchy arm.” 
The federal government is allowing each state to decide how they will distribute the vaccine to residents.
Massachusetts has three-phase plan, prioritizing health care workers, first responders and public service providers. This plan is expected to allow everyone over the age of 16 that wishes to be vaccinated to receive the shot by the end of June 2021. 
At this time, it is not clear as to whether the vaccine will be mandatory at some point in the future, like how the flu vaccine is mandatory for many health care workers, with few exceptions. 
Metcalfe feels the vaccine should not be mandatory. “People should have the right to choose and a vaccine should not determine their livelihood.” she says. She feels more people will voluntarily receive the vaccine as time goes on and its safety and efficacy are proven.  
Venditti feels that everyone who is able to get the vaccine should and in some cases it should be mandatory. He compared it to drinking and driving laws which are not only for the protection of the individual but also for those that can be injured by a drunk driver. A vaccinated person is not only protecting themselves, but those around him or her as well. 
Graphic showing the plans for vaccine distribution in three phasesPhoto courtesy of mass.gov