Student Vaccinations

In April of 2020, the United States was under a state of emergency due to the coronavirus; the students of Panther Creek High School were quarantined in their homes, and as time passed, there was a common question that arose:

“When will there be a vaccine?”

A year later, there’s an answer to that question. In April of 2021, not only are there 3 COVID-19 vaccines that have been issued by the FDA, but many of Panther Creek’s students are now eligible to receive one.

As of April 7th, all North Carolina residents above the age of 16 have been deemed eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. For some of the students at Panther Creek, that meant that they were now able to schedule vaccine appointments, receive their shot at a vaccination site, and become one step closer to immunity.

At the moment, there are 3 vaccine options available to Americans at this time: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson. However, each is different in regards to who can get it and how many doses they should receive.

In mid-December of 2020, the FDA issued the first emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Four months later, thousands upon thousands of Pfizer vaccines are now being given to individuals all throughout the country. Pfizer can be given to anyone above the age of 16; there are two doses of it that must be given to the individual 21 days apart.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was issued emergency use authorization in mid-December as well. Similar to Pfizer, Moderna also requires two doses; this time, however, they should be given approximately 28 days apart. Moderna is also only authorized for those who are above 18 years old.

The third is the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which was issued in late February. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine has the same age requirements as Moderna; you must be 18 to receive it. However, Johnson and Johnson is a one-dose vaccine, meaning that once you get it, you don’t need to report back to the vaccination site for another shot.

Because a large population of Panther Creek’s students are under 18, they’ve received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Out of a poll of 16 students, 10 reported that they had received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

12 of these students also answered that their families or some of their family members had received the vaccine.

The students that PCNN polled also highlighted the severity of the side effects that the vaccine brought along from 1-5 (1 being no side effects at all, 5 being very severe). While 4 of these students reported that they had no side effects at all, 12 others rated the severity of their symptoms ranging from 2 to 5.

While many students at Panther Creek may have received the same vaccine, the polls that PCNN took emphasize that individuals may react very differently. Though one person may feel nothing at all, others may experience various symptoms.

The CDC website ( indicates that side effects can range from any of the following. Symptoms are said to go away in 1-3 days (24-72 hours) after vaccination.

  • Pain at injection site
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Sore arm
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Two weeks after your second dose (or two weeks after your 1-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine), you’re considered to be fully vaccinated. Once you’re fully vaccinated, the CDC has reported that you…

  • Can safely gather indoors with other vaccinated individuals
  • Can gather indoors with unvaccinated people (that are all from 1 household)
  • Can gather outdoors without a mask (except for in particularly crowded areas)
  • Don’t have to self-quarantine after returning from a trip

That said, it’s important to remember that masks are still in season for now, whether you’ve been vaccinated or not. Wearing a mask in public and distancing yourself from those you don’t regularly come in contact with are important mechanisms in not only protecting yourself, but keeping others safe as well.

So, now that some of us are eligible for the vaccine or have already received it, what’s next?

The FDA and CDC are currently working towards issuing the vaccine to those that are between 12-15 years of age.

For some of Panther Creek’s students, this may mean that their siblings will become eligible; for others, this will mean that they themselves will be able to get it as well.

In the meantime, whether you’ve been vaccinated or are waiting to get one, stay safe and remember to protect yourself and those around you.

Covid-19 Vaccinations by Anikka Pil[/infographi

Polls by Josh Willis