The COVID-19 pandemic has exhausted us all mentally and physically, but with vaccines rolling out the last few months, it looks like there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.
According to NHPR, health care workers were naturally priority number one with phase 1A of distribution targeting them back in December.
Phase 1B then targeted adults over 65 or anybody who is at extra risk if they get COVID, which began back in January. Just a little over two weeks ago, phase 2A began allowing school staff and child care providers to receive the vaccine.
After this, things speed up a bit with adults between 50-64 being eligible for phase 2B and phase 3 begins March 29. Phase 3 is where practically any New Hampshire residen 16 or oldert that wants the vaccine can receive it, and that’s where college students come into the picture. This leads up the much heated debate of whether or not college students should get priority vaccines.
To that I would say no, but it seems with the rollout plan being what it is, this is somewhat accounted for. I believe this because older residents, health care providers and schools have had access to vaccine registration already. Where the problem comes however, is that these phases are so close together and with all these people being eligible as of April 2, there may be some issues for older people, school workers and others who may not have had a chance to register quite yet.
In that scenario, I would say that those people should certainly get priority over college students in the case where one college student and one school worker were to apply for the vaccine on the same day. This is because these people are significantly more at risk to COVID than most college students, especially considering that most college students tend to put themselves more at risk to COVID while these school workers have no choice.
What I do want to argue against is the fact that college students shouldn’t be a priority at all. I believe that we should have some kind of priority just because it’s more of a risk to the communities around colleges to have these students not vaccinated. An example of this is right here in Cheshire County where I’m willing to bet that cases have risen in the time that KSC students have come back.
I also think that college students deserve a more normal experience; we’re paying thousands of dollars for what should be some of the most enriching years of our lives yet most are getting an incredibly hollow experience. We aren’t learning as much or quite as well, we aren’t having as much fun and overall are just living in constant fear. I think we should be lower in priorities to many others but we should still have some priority.
That brings me to the question that many have: “Should I get the vaccine?” I certainly understand the concern of not wanting to get it without knowing the long term effects but I for one am willing to take that risk. This is how we get out of this nightmare pandemic and nobody said it would be easy. We all need to be willing to take some risks in order to bring the world forward because there most likely won’t be a completely normal vaccine, side effect free for a very long time, or potentially ever.
When it comes to the opportunity to get normal life back, I’d give anything and I think many others would too.
Cristian Valentin can be contacted at: