Vaccinated students striving for normalcy

Range of side effects worth reward, risk for some.


Photo submitted by: Sydney Grishaber

Junior Sydney Grishaber captures the moment with her mom, Nikole Grishaber, at the Wolstein Center after receiving their vaccines.

With the COVID-19 vaccine approved for teenagers over 16 last month, SHS students showed up at vaccination centers — including one offered at SHS — hoping for a sense of normalcy again. 

Junior Amari Jennings explained why she elected to receive the vaccine. “I chose to get vaccinated because I wanted to feel extra safe even with the masks,” she said. “I just wanted to be more satisfied with fewer chances of getting sick.” 

Jennings chose to receive the Pfizer vaccine because she felt it was a safer choice. “…It had a lot of less bad reviews, covers more strains, the people that we talked to got that one and were pleased with it, and [it]didn’t have as much bad publicity as the others,” she said. 

Other students said the Moderna vaccine was more accessible. 

Because he is already 18, senior Sam Gray was eligible for either one. “I was administered the Moderna vaccine and I didn’t have much input as to which version I received,” he said. “When I arrived at the vaccination clinic, I registered to attend, they sorted me into a line and sent me to the side offering Moderna. Truth be told, I wasn’t well-enough researched to have a preference between Moderna and Pfizer, so I was happy to take whichever appointment became first available.” 

High on the reasons for getting vaccinated is the ability to see family and friends again safely.

I chose to get vaccinated because I want to be able to see my grandparents more often, safely,” said senior Vivian Hall. “And I work in a restaurant, so I’m in contact with many people multiple times a week, so I’d rather be safe than sorry!

Some students experienced side effects from their vaccines, while others had none at all. 

Sophomore Megan Solly barely had a reaction to Pfizer. I had no symptoms besides a sore arm after both my first and second dose and a little headache after my second dose,” she said. 

Hall’s experience was similar to Solly’s. “I only felt soreness in my arm for about three days after receiving my vaccine,” she said. “It hurt to move my arm around and it hurt to the touch, but I tried to move my arm a lot the first day so I wouldn’t be as sore later on.” 

Gray also had a mild reaction. “To my surprise, the first dose of the vaccine only brought me two days of being incredibly tired,” he said. “I felt as though I had taken several Benadryl, but certainly wasn’t in pain or discomfort. Unfortunately, I had a rather important application to submit the day following my vaccination, so I couldn’t find much rest time, but even with that exertion, I wasn’t really all that pressed, only extremely tired.”

Other students experienced the more severe reactions to the vaccine: arm soreness, achiness and/or extreme fatigue.

With my first dose, I didn’t have any reactions other than being tired the next day, but with my second…gosh it was a whole rollercoaster,” said junior Ali Madden. “The day after, I had a 102 fever for the whole day, chills, headache and I was nauseous at the thought of eating. It was crazy. It felt like having the flu, but worse.” 

Junior Blake Morris said he does not want to be vaccinated at this time.  “Personally, I don’t want to get the vaccine because we do not know the long term effects of it…,” he said. “I think that there are possibly long-term side effects to the other companies’ vaccines that are unforeseen, such as the unforeseen blood clotting in the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.” He also said he “would rather build the immunity naturally, or just not get the virus at all.”

Those students who have opted for the vaccine have had more and more opportunities to get it as time goes on. Aside from the clinic held here at SHS in April, college campuses, drug and grocery stores, and numerous other venues have been turned into vaccination centers, in an effort to make these free shots available to as many people as possible.   

Solly went to the Cleveland State Wolstein Center for hers. “I chose to go there since I wanted to get my vaccine as soon as possible and it was the first location I found with open appointments,” she said. 

Gray said he went to the Kent State Fieldhouse because it was convenient. “….I received my vaccine at the Kent State field house because it was the fastest appointment that I could sign up for,” he said.  “I wanted to begin the process of becoming vaccinated as soon as possible.