Photo by Joe Jonas
As of October 1. 2021, there have been 25 cases of COVID-19 at Monte Vista. Students and staff members alike are able to stop the spread of this virus by receiving proper doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Over the summer of 2021, numerous citizens received vaccinations for COVID-19 and as of October, about 81% of people within Contra Costa County were fully vaccinated.
As people got vaccinated, the rate of cases lowered significantly. In response, Contra Costa County became more lenient on social distancing and mask rules. As a result, the rate of COVID-19 cases suddenly increased during July 2021, as the more contagious Delta variant spread. As reported by the Contra Costa Health Services, “the Delta variants comprised 43 percent of all specimens sequenced in California.”
In order to remain protected against the variant, the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated to boost your immunity: “The greatest risk of transmission is among the unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected and therefore transmit the virus.
“Over 90% of people who are in the hospital ICU with the Delta variant are unvaccinated,” said sophomore Angelina Zhang, a volunteer at John Muir Hospital.
The school district must take action and mandate the vaccine, with little to no exceptions, in order to protect students and staff members from the spread of the virus and its threatening health effects.
Dr. Kevin Ahern, principal of Monte Vista, believes that receiving the vaccine is a personal choice. Even so, he understands the urgency of the situation.
“There is a responsibility that we have to each other to ensure we keep ourselves healthy and at the same time help others as well,” Ahern said.
Nevertheless, some remain skeptical about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine. Although the COVID vaccines (aside from Johnson and Johnson) utilize relatively new mRNA technology, this does not make the vaccines any more dangerous than vaccines we normally receive, such as HPV, Tdap, or chickenpox. Like these vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines have been tested several times and have been proven to be both safe and effective by a variety of health officials and scientists.
“Alamo and Danville are approaching a 90% vaccination rate,” Ahern said, “and with the new mask policy and proof of vaccination… We’re seeing our transmission rates go down.”
According to a recent Instagram poll, 94% of students at Monte Vista received the vaccination, and within the last two weeks, there have been zero cases of the virus within the school.
Yet some still resist the vaccine, believing that the COVID-19 immunizations cause blood clots, heart congestion, and even death. Señora Franco, a Spanish teacher at Monte Vista shares this belief.
Although it is true that people have been diagnosed with Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), the CDC states, “This adverse event is rare, occurring at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old. For women 50 years and older and men of all ages, this adverse event is even more rare.”
Furthermore, on August 23, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in the United States and urges everyone eligible to receive it.
But Franco believed otherwise.
“If the vaccine works, why does everyone have to get it?” Franco said, “It’s my body, my choice.”
While the phrase “my body, my choice” has been ingrained in the heads of many, how is the COVID-19 vaccine different from the shots the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) requires?
“For example, the flu vaccine is not guaranteed to completely prevent you from getting it whatsoever,” said senior Maddy Chamberlain, “but it works a lot better when the total population receives the vaccine.”
This concept is called herd immunity or community immunity. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, “When enough people are vaccinated against a certain disease, the germs can’t travel as easily from person to person — and the entire community is less likely to get the disease… Eventually, the disease becomes rare — and sometimes, it’s wiped out altogether.”
Mandating the COVID-19 vaccine will likely leave no negative impact on the students or staff. There is a plethora of evidence written and approved by researchers, scientists, and health officials that the vaccine is safe, helpful, and will slow the spread of this virus. We must listen to those who are educated and play our part as a community to keep each other safe and healthy.