EDITORIAL: Please, get the COVID vaccine

It’s not too late to start caring about those around you


Magaly Muñoz

According to the CDC, people ages 18-29 are responsible for 22.4% of COVID-19 cases in the United States as of March 4. That is 4,836,514 cases, the highest of any age group in the U.S.

As we approach one whole year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with case and death numbers having skyrocketed beyond control, it’s starting to not become enough to just wear a mask or social distance. The Hail Mary is here and we need to do our part.

If you aren’t immunocompromised and have a body that can handle vaccine injections, please get a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available to you.

It is understandable not wanting to put something unnatural in your body because of someone telling you to, but this vaccine has gone through rigorous testing and trials for safety, even with the short period it has been in development.

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When it was revealed Feb. 3 that Sac State would not require the vaccine next fall, The State Hornet talked to several students about getting the vaccine and many of the responses we got were appalling. 

Everything from “I don’t like getting vaccines…I trust my own body,” to “It’s supposed to be like the flu and not a life-threatening virus for young people.” 

Your own body and your own youth might help you, but it won’t protect those around you if you catch the COVID-19 virus and transmit it asymptomatically. 

Half. A. Million. Dead. Not half a million statistics on a bulletin. Half a million friends, neighbors, parents, children, spouses, coworkers, mentors. Half a million people who had hopes, dreams, lives and families who didn’t have to die. Half a million people who not only died, but in most cases died alone, scared and, if they were lucky, said goodbye to cherished family through an iPad. And their deaths are on all of us that failed to take this seriously.

According to the CDC, people ages 18-29 are responsible for 22.4% of COVID-19 cases in the United States as of March 4. That is 4,836,514 cases, the highest of any age group in the U.S.

Some of those numbers are very likely due to young people being the ones forced to keep working as vulnerable “essential workers” (because society definitely shuts down if a Target or Lowe’s closes, right?) during this crisis to pay off rent, not-at-all-lowered tuition and other expenses. But not all of it is so justifiable.

While people aged 18-29 are the group with the highest percentage of cases, people aged 85 and older account for the highest percentage of deaths at 32.1%. So you might get the virus and survive, but if you pass it along to your grandparents, will they? If you pass it along to the cashier at someplace who passes it to their grandparents or their immunocompromised roommate, will they?

Taking this vaccine and achieving herd immunity can and will end the COVID-19 pandemic in America, preventing potentially hundreds of thousands of fully preventable deaths and finally get society somewhat back on track. It is an incredible act of sheer selfishness to not want to take it for anything other than a legitimate health-based reason.

We eat from the Taco Bell drive-thru or microwave ramen how many nights a week, and you’re worried about taking a vaccine authorized by two ideologically separate administrations?

Isolation is driving you stir-crazy and trust us, we feel the same way. But what we should not do is continue to risk the lives of everyone we come in contact with because we “can’t just stop living our lives over something like the flu,” despite there being well over half a million COVID-19 deaths in the U.S alone.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates attribute 12,000 to 61,000 deaths annually since 2010 to the flu. 61,000 at most, compared to half a million at least. Calling COVID-19 “just a bad flu” is like calling the seemingly-annual wildfires in our state “a small brush fire.” 

As reported on our State Hornet Broadcast, Sac State students and other residents of The Crossings apartment complex threw an October house party at a time when we were all supposed to be social distancing and sheltering-in-place. As reported in the Sacramento Bee, young people held a New Year’s Eve superspreader mansion party in Granite Bay during the worst of the lockdown. 

Really? Was it worth it? Was going to a massive party with people you probably didn’t know worth putting the lives of hundreds of others at risk? 

Odds are the only way you’ll retell this story is by saying you were part of the extremely irresponsible group of college kids who decided to throw a party during the deadliest pandemic in modern history that has managed to kill half a million people and counting.

As students, we have the most to lose out of this. We’re at risk of walking into financial and job uncertainty after graduation if work remains remote. Eventually our options will be so limited that most companies won’t even look at our resumes because we never got the in-person field experience that makes them want to take risks in hiring us.

Even simpler than that, we may never experience our college campuses again. Imagine not being able to sit under a shaded tree in the quad or hear the laughter and conversations of other students as you head to your last class of the day.

The COVID vaccine will give all that back to us and more.

We are the next generations of America and we are faced with unprecedented division, climate change, racial injustice and so many more challenges. We have been thrown our first major test and we have failed miserably. We have lacked common sense, basic scientific understanding and critical thinking and worst of all, we have lacked basic empathy for others’ health and well being. 

At least being responsible and empathetic enough to get the vaccine in large enough numbers to achieve herd immunity gives us a chance to start building a better world and making things right. But at this point, not getting the vaccine in large numbers would be like having the key out of this pandemic world and throwing it away.