by Alyssa Cocchiola, Staff Writer
MARCH 2021 – On Friday, Feb 19, Bio-Med teachers and staff had the opportunity to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This was a digital day, so students could work from home while staff received their vaccinations.
“The process was smooth and convenient,” Mrs. Borcoman, the Interventionist Specialist for grades 9-12 commented. “It was a great bonus that we were able to do it here in our building. In many other districts they have to travel outside of their district to have it done.”
Mrs. Mihalik, College, Career, and Finance teacher, shared her experience with the vaccine as well.
“The staff was called back in alphabetical order by first name, so I was in the last group called. I was anxious because I was afraid they would run out by the time they got to me,” she explained. “When they called me back, I sat with a nurse as she explained which vaccine I was getting and what side effects I might experience. Afterward, I had to sit in a room for fifteen minutes to make sure I had no adverse effects.”
Staff members had a choice of choosing to be vaccinated or not and shared their reasoning behind their decision.
“While I was wary about the vaccine considering the rapidity within which it was created, I am a proponent of the benefits of vaccination as well as the professionalism and expertise of our medical community,” Mrs. McLaughlin, Bio-Med principal stated. “I had to practice what I preach, so to speak. I also think that mass vaccination will be the best way to work towards a sense of normalcy in our daily lives. I’m willing to do my part.”
“I am scared that there is a possibility of bad side effects but I know in the end it will be for everyone’s good,” Ms. Brook commented. When being asked about her decision to get the vaccine, she responded that “I would hate to have my loved ones wonder why I didn’t get the vaccine if I possibly died from Covid.”
Many teachers felt a sense of morality when it came to getting vaccinated. Ms. Hisey, the sophomore language arts teacher stated, “I got the vaccination not only to protect myself, but because I feel that vaccination in general is a moral duty that we all owe to our neighbors and communities. Not everyone is medically able to get vaccinated, so it’s important that we protect the vulnerable among us.”
“As an immunocompromised person, I feel much, much safer knowing that I will have some protection. I’m grateful to all the researchers who worked night and day to get this to us,” Ms. Hisey concluded.
After receiving the first dose of the vaccine, staff members were asked to fill out a survey, with questions about the severity of side effects, along with their blood type. It has been speculated that there could be a link to the severity of vaccination side effects and the blood type of the recipient.
As for COVID-19 itself, studies have speculated that people with blood type A were likely to get a higher risk of infection than those with blood type O, which was the least likely. The results of the survey were used to see if this was the case with staff members.
Out of the 17 responses in the survey, 31.3% had a blood type of A+, 18.8% had O+, 6.3% had O-, B-, and B+, and 31.3% did not know their blood type. Staff members were asked to rate the severity of their side effects on a scale of 1-10, with one being little to none and ten being really severe.
All participants of the survey answered a number below six, with the average being 2.4. The average for people with blood types A- and A+ was 2.4, for B- and B+ the average was 3, and for blood type O- and O+, it was 2.25. Out of this sample population data, the group with the highest severity of side effects being blood type B, which contradicts what was speculated previously. With the data collected, there was no direct correlation between the severity of symptoms and blood type.
While not severe, most staff members still experienced side effects after the vaccine.
Mr. Martau, the sophomore history teacher, shared his experience with the vaccine.
“I did have mild side effects after getting vaccinated,” he wrote. “On Friday afternoon, I had some general soreness in my shoulder. Into Saturday evening, I felt fatigued and had chills, though my temperature never went high enough to be considered a fever. By Sunday morning, I was good as new.”
Ms. Huffman, the Bio-Med Receptionist shared that on top of having a sore arm she “ also had a headache the first day and was very tired too.”
Mrs. Borcoman explained that her side effects did not last more than a couple days after the vaccine.
“The only side effect I had was some tenderness in the area of the injection,”she stated. “It felt a little bit like someone punched me in the arm and walked away. The tenderness was gone within 48 hours.”
Soreness in the arm was the most common side effect and experienced by almost all staff members that filled out the survey. The overall side effects included sore shoulders and arms from where the vaccine was injected, headaches, fatigue, itchiness, chills, and tiredness. However, most side effects went away after 48 hours.
“As the vaccine becomes more available to people (especially younger folks), employers/schools/parents need to understand that this vaccine can cause some decently rough side effects,” Ms. Fusco, the Biomedical Engineering teacher wrote.
“I’m very very VERY grateful Bio-Med was able to have the vaccine given on a Friday, so we had the weekend to rest and recover. If not, I’m pretty sure I would’ve fallen asleep at some point during the day, since fatigue was my worst symptom,” she concluded.
The Bio-Med staff is scheduled to receive the second dose of the vaccine on March 19th next month.