Ohio expands vaccine eligibility to people 16+

The following story was written by a student on the staff of The Jaguar Times as part of Hilliard Bradley High School’s Journalism Production course.

by Jahari Henry , Staff Writer

COVID-19 Vaccines became available in April to all people 16 + in Ohio. Photo by Unsplash.
COVID-19 Vaccines became available in April to all people 16 + in Ohio. Photo by Unsplash.

What started in November 2020 after Pfizer announced its new vaccine to combat and ultimately prevent Covid-19 has evolved into a full fledged public and private sector effort to get citizens vaccinated. These efforts will hopefully bring the long arduous pandemic to a close. On March 11th, in his first primetime address to the nation, President Joe Biden made it clear to the states that all adults should be eligible for the vaccine by May 1.

How has Ohio fared in fulfilling the president's request? The answer would be WAY AHEAD of schedule. According to the Ohio Department of Health as of “Friday, March 19, 2021. Phase 2C will expand eligibility to include Ohioans ages 40 and older” and “Governor Mike DeWine has announced that Ohioans 16 and older will become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 2D of Ohio’s vaccination program beginning Monday, March 29, 2021.”

This will ultimately enfranchise all Ohioans and meet the goal that the President laid out by more than a month. However, with all the good news of eligibility many unknowns still remain. The most pressing of which is vaccine hesitancy among the populations that are already eligible to receive it . Will this translate to younger Ohioans? Or are they more eager to get the vaccine and move on from this dark chapter in history? The Jaguar Times asked some eligible Hilliard Bradley Students to see if they were interested in getting the vaccine or not and why?

The reactions from Bradley Students ranged from hesitancy to enthusiasm about getting the vaccine.

Andrew Weitz a 16 year old junior* said “I say no for right now. I am just a little nervous about the long term effects of the Vaccine considering they made it so quickly in a year.” His response goes to show that even though many have perceived the rapid development of the vaccine as a good thing. Some might perceive it as it being rushed and haphazardly put together.

Weitz’s response was in stark contrast to that of Ryan Madama and Mst Tabassum. Both are juniors with one being 17 and 16 years old, respectively. Madama when asked if he would take the vaccine responded with “I would absolutely take it. I’ve already had to quarantine once and it sucked. I think everyone should get vaccinated as soon as possible.” Tabassum followed up on Madama’s statement by adding “I would absolutely take it too. Both of my parents have got it and I hate being left out.”

While those three students seemed to have contrasting opinions on if they would take the Vaccine. Some students had indifference to a vaccine at all. Gave Karnes, a 17 year old junior, gave me insight to his vaccine plans. “Maybe, it depends. My dad had recently taken the vaccine and he had a bad reaction to it. My mom had taken it as well and she felt fine. So I might just wait a little and wait until more people get it until I get it for myself .” This similar sentiment was also shared by Kaylee Vegliack, a 16 year old junior who responded with “I’m pretty indifferent. I don’t see myself going out of my way to get the vaccine.” One student interviewed however, had already received the vaccine. We asked him about his experience.

Gavin O’Brien a 17 year old junior told us about his decision to get the vaccine and how he was feeling considering he received it even before the date of March 29th. “I decided to get it because with the retirement home I worked at they had an overflow of vaccines and I didn’t want them to go to waste” said O’Brien. He followed up with “after I initially took the first dose I was a little sore. However after the second dose it put me on my butt. After I got it I felt safer and more confident. Obviously still with masking and social distancing.”

Regardless of all these stories and opinions if you are 16 years of age and above you're eligible for the vaccine in the state of Ohio. To learn more about the process or even schedule your first vaccine shot go www.OhioHealth.com or call the number (614)-533-6999.

*All ages and grades listed in this story are as of April 4th, 2021.