Everyone should get vaccinated if you can

By Paul Medina

Students main goal this semester should not be to get an A, but a V for ‘Vaccine’

March 17 was St. Patrick’s Day. While many of my friends were looking forward to going out and taking vodka shots, I was looking forward to taking the COVID-19 shot.

It was also the first day in which ELAC became the location of a COVID-19 vaccination site administered by the Center for Family Health & Education in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health.  

I was able to take the shot and the best part was that it took place at our beautiful campus. I could have taken the vaccination elsewhere, but I wanted it to be symbolic and take it at ELAC. 

I admit, I have been skeptical at times about taking it. I feel this action is in the best interest not only for my health, but for family, my community and school. 

Before the start of the semester I can say that I had it all. 2020 was a new decade and I was looking forward to making so much out of it. 

I was elated to be attending ELAC in person. I was taking statistics and was active in many school activities. However in early March, the smile I had on my face slowly faded. There was fear over a virus first found in Asia which began to ravage Italy and soon started to spread throughout the United States.

That virus was then known as “coronavirus.” 

I recall the second week of March, being in my statistics class and having the director of the math program I belonged to come in to address the many concerns students had.

Like us, she was also in the dark. All she was able to tell us was to pay close attention to any updates from the school, as the district was beginning to shift to a “virtual teaching format.” She did leave us with an attempt to dispel the fear, “You may be worried right now, but one day you’ll look back and laugh this off,” she said. Twelve months later, I’m still waiting to laugh it off. 

Unfortunately like many people, my plans eroded. The rest I don’t need to explain. I figure you all know what happened firsthand. 

It is more beneficial for ELAC students to get vaccinated. The faster people get vaccinated and society reaches herd immunity, the faster we can return to normality such as in-person learning. 

LA County Department of Public Health posted a graphic on their Instagram page dispelling myths vs facts. 

The infographic states that vaccines do not contain the COVID-19 virus. About half of those which took part in the vaccine trials got mild side effects with the most common being a sore arm. 

Another important fact to point out that quelled misconceptions is that most “side effects are people developing immunity. It’s making antibodies that fight COVID-19. It doesn’t mean you’re sick,” according to the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department. 

One major take away from the pandemic, can be found in a quote by Kurt Vonnegut which says “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” As I look back I now realize normality meant everything. 

Being a student government leader, I am expected to lead by example. By taking the vaccine, I hope to motivate other ELAC students who at moments have been skeptical like me, to follow suit.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 vaccine currently isn’t available to everyone. I’m sorry! Please be patient, the distribution process is fluid and can change quickly. 

President Joe Biden in his prime-time presidential address said that all Americans will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1. 

Some educators are beginning to be vaccinated. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, students are next.

If you know of anyone who meets the criteria for the vaccine, encourage them to take it. Ideally if they can, tell them to take it at ELAC.

ELAC’s vaccine facility is clean, efficient and well-staffed. The site provides many bilingual staff in different languages. Plenty of parking is available. It’s also American with Disabilities Act accessible. 

In total I was in and out in less than 45 minutes, which included the 15 minutes for post vaccination observation.

I had it all prior to COVID-19, but didn’t appreciate what I had. The intangible things such as normal human contact, face to face interactions and walking around freely without wearing a mask is what I miss the most.  

While the world has sunk into a deep hole, there begins to be light at the end of the tunnel. I am confident at the end we will rise again again as a stronger and wiser version of ourselves, the way others have endured through tough times in the past. 

ELAC has been educating people and changing lives for seventy five years. Now it’s helping in the fight against COVID-19 by hosting both a testing and vaccination site. Thank you, ELAC! I’ve never been prouder to be a Husky. 

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