The Vaccine of Victory

Roxy Kuper-Wilson and Miguel Gonzalez

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, teachers are scrambling to get an appointment for a vaccine. With the limited supply, many Wilson High School teachers are struggling to get an appointment to get the vaccine, but others have successfully received their dosage, and are going to get the second one this week and next. 

The Long Beach Health Department began providing vaccines for teachers on January 25 with the hope of returning to an in-person learning environment in the safest way possible. 

I will not go back to the classroom without the vaccine,” said math teacher Chrishanne Sternin. “During a normal school year I got the flu three times, and then I would be out of work a day or two.”

This is a common theme among the teachers. 

AP Macroeconomics and US Government teacher, Wendy Anderson said, “I will not teach in the classroom until I get the vaccine…I have a son with an autoimmune disorder and I don’t want to jeopardize his health, or the health of other family members.”

Most teachers believe the science behind the vaccine, and trust that is safe and effective.

“I have confidence in it because I have faith in the scientific and medical community” said Anderson. 

Math teacher, Chanmony He had a similar response. He “believes in science, although it is not 100% effective on everyone.”

Sternin also agrees with Anderson and He, stating that she will take the vaccine since she “believes science is real,” comparing the COVID vaccine to the polio vaccine. “We don’t see the devastating effects of polio anymore because a vaccine almost eradicated it.” 

A common theme throughout the responses of Wilson’s teachers has been their stances on returning to in person learning without this vaccination. 

Much like Sternin, Anderson explained that most teachers want to be fully vaccinated before schools reopen and in person learning resumes. The Long Beach Unified School District in cooperation with the Long Beach Health Department will vaccinate all teachers that want to be vaccinated before in person school begins.

There are also Wilson’s teachers that do not want the vaccine and when asked about whether or not they would be vaccinated did not want people to know.  

In a social media post, one Wilson teacher said, “I’ve been willing to go back since August. And I am NOT getting the ‘vaccine!’”

Vaccine or not, many teachers have shown their concerns about returning to in-person learning. The main reason includes the possible exposure to the virus from students. Even with teachers receiving the vaccine, they believe it is not enough to return to class. 

“I think it’s important for students to get the vaccine so they do not spread COVID to their family members,” said Anderson. 

Other concerns include what effects the vaccine may have. 

“I do have a concern about it because I don’t know how my body will react to the vaccine until I take it,” said He. 

Sternin has a similar concern, explaining “things made in haste can have unknown side effects. On the other hand, “necessity is the mother of invention, and this is something we need desperately.” 

Currently teachers that are working from home are expected to begin working from school on April 12. Seniors will be back on campus on April 19, and the ninth-eleventh graders will return on April 26. 

Sternin summed up what a lot of people are thinking. “Tomorrow we may have new information and when we know better we will do better. Today, taking the vaccine is right.”