Students express opinions on upcoming vaccinations

South Korea originally prioritized the COVID-19 vaccination of the elderly, but the government now allows teenagers of ages 15-16 to make vaccine reservations from Oct. 5 to Oct. 29. Younger teenagers of ages 12-15 can also make appointments from Oct. 18 to Nov. 12.


“I plan to receive the vaccine on Oct. 26. Getting vaccinated makes me feel safer from the virus, and it also opens up travel opportunities out of the country,” Kevin Kim (10), vaccine optimist, said. 


Indeed, the vaccine shot could serve as a pathway to a more normal life. The new vaccine bubble policy allows vaccinated individuals to travel to certain places such as Singapore, Taiwan, and Guam without having to undergo the 14-day quarantine upon entry. The list of destinations for which the policy applies is expected to increase.


However, some students maintain that vaccination is an unnecessary risk that teenagers do not need to take.


“Students of our age do not need vaccinations as much as the elderly do, as studies have shown the youth are less likely to become severely ill when infected with COVID-19,” Leo Byun (10), COVID vaccine doubter, said. “I have ambivalent feelings about taking the risk of injecting these new mRNA vaccines that were quickly developed under dire circumstances. I plan to wait another year before I get vaccinated when more research on the vaccines’ side effects or long-term effect risks are available.”


Yet the concept of herd immunity shows that vaccination is beneficial for not only individuals but also the whole community. As a larger portion of the population gets vaccinated, the chances of COVID spreading become unlikely, resulting in greater protection of the overall population from the virus.


“Vaccination should be mandatory because the vast majority needs to be vaccinated for it to be effective in preventing COVID from spreading,” Henry Hatridge (10), vaccine advocate, said. “I don’t understand why some people are skeptical of vaccination; thorough research has scientifically proven the harmlessness of the vaccine.”


Still, especially in the US, many place more emphasis on the freedom of choice than on the potential benefits of herd immunity.


“Although I myself am getting vaccinated, I don’t think that the vaccination decision should be enforced on others,” Kevin said. “That decision should be respected as one’s freedom.”


Regardless of the stances that students pose, the school COVID policies will adhere to government orders.


“Just like how we followed the government guidelines for having on-campus classes, SIS plans to follow the government stance on vaccinations for students,” Gray Macklin, HS Vice Principal, said. “For now, we will continue to take temperatures, require orange passes, and require masks.”