Since March 2019, COVID-19 contagion has continued to accelerate. Hospitals are filling up, death rates are climbing, yet there is now hope: a vaccine. In early 2020, scientists began seeking a vaccine for COVID-19. While scientists were careful not to promise quick success, the Wall Street Journal stated that in December 2020, a total of 55 sites nationwide had received vaccine shipments, according to General Gustave Perna, the chief operation officer for Operation Warp Speed. He oversees the logistics in the United States federal government’s search for a COVID-19 vaccine. Recently, teachers in the Grace community have started to receive their first doses of the vaccine.
According to NYC Health, on January 11th, teachers became eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. When Grace Church notified the teachers that they were eligible, many of them signed up online. Ms. Hepner, the head of the middle school, recently received the first dose of the COVID vaccine. In an interview, she described getting the vaccine as very “quick and efficiently done.” The entire process was held mostly outside under tents and the only time she had to enter an indoor space was when she entered a medical trailer to receive the vaccine. The entire process took less than an hour from check-in to departure. She experienced few side effects after getting vaccinated and when asked, she said, “If you have the opportunity, please get the vaccine!”
There is no doubt that the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine is extraordinary. To go from the discovery of a deadly new virus to the creation of a tested vaccine that can block its effects in less than one year is unprecedented in scientific history. And while it is natural to be somewhat apprehensive about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, a survey conducted by the Grace Gazette in December revealed that the overwhelming majority of people in the Grace community felt that getting it was safe.
Mr. Fasano, a fourth grade teacher at the Grace Middle School, stated that the entire process was “quick and easy” and that he only waited 20 minutes to receive the vaccine at the hospital where it was administered. Scheduled to receive his second shot on February 10th, Mr. Fasano seems quite optimistic about what the future may bring now that we have a vaccine. “It felt like the first day of the rest of my life,” he said.
While vaccinations are a promising step forward in the fight against the virus, they do not promise a quick return to pre-pandemic life. Grace has continued to take the necessary steps to protect the health of its students and faculty, and it is important that we continue to follow these steps so that we can, in the near future, return to a somewhat normal life.