US Vaccine Timeline
The first COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States were administered to frontline healthcare workers starting on Dec. 14, 2020. In the following months, major vaccine rollouts occurred across the United States, with essential workers, teachers and senior citizens being a top priority. On April 19, 2021, President Joe Biden approved all adults in the US to be eligible for the vaccine.
Later in April, vaccine distribution was hindered after the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was temporarily recalled following reports linking the vaccine to serious blood clots in a few recipients. The vaccination effort was reinvigorated in May when children ages 12-15 were approved by the FDA to receive the Pfzier vaccine.
By August of 2021, 49% of the total US population have been fully vaccinated and 57% have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In comparison, Marlborough has a much higher vaccination rate, with 95% of the student body fully vaccinated.
“I think it is important to receive the vaccine to not only protect yourself, but also mainly to not endanger vulnerable people with the virus,” Elliot ’26 said.
On August 23, 2021, the Pfizer vaccine received full FDA approval, having previously only been allowed for emergency use authorization. US health officials are hopeful that this new development will encourage previous skeptics to get vaccinated.
Anti Vaxxer Claims:
Although the COVID-19 vaccine was an essential step towards ending the pandemic, not every eligible American is getting the vaccine. Anti-vaxxers refuse to get their COVID-19 vaccine shot and spread false claims about the “dangers” of getting inoculated. The CDC rebutted popular vaccine claims: including that the vaccine is a microchip, the vaccine makes you magnetic, and getting the vaccines lowers your chances of having a baby.
“Anti-vaxxers’ baseless claims are really harmful, as they are causing people to fear the vaccine,” Lauren ’23 said. “The only way this pandemic can end is if everyone does their part towards creating herd immunity and gets vaccinated.”
Many people who have received the vaccine are frustrated at anti-vaxxers, as they believe that the anti-vaxxers’ refusal to get vaccinated is preventing the world from reaching the end of the pandemic.
Protest against a mandate for the vaccine has led to anti-vaxxers congregating across America to stop the mandate. In early August, an anti-vax rally was held in Downtown Los Angeles, California, where anti-vaxxers and pro-vaxxers collided and violence ensued. The LA Times reported that anti-vax and anti-mask members showed up with American flags and chanted about their right to have medical freedom. Then counterdemonstraters arrived and arguments over the vaccine and COVID-19 began. The rally was held to protest the possibility of a vaccine mandate for residents of Los Angeles to go into stores, schools and other public areas. A mandate for the COVID-19 vaccine would help control the pandemic and allow Los Angeles to lower the restrictions surrounding masks and social distancing.
“I think America needs to come together and help each other by getting the vaccine to protect everyone and get life back to normal” Eloise ‘24 said.
America is at a crossroads between pushing past the COVID-19 pandemic with more Americans getting vaccinated or having more and more people get the virus and go into hospitals where they risk dying.
Travel resumes among Marlborough families
After the suspension on travel due to COVID-19 last summer, this summer has seen an upsurge in travel. 75% of vaccinated Marlborough students have travelled on an airplane during the pandemic.
“Because my whole family and I are fully vaccinated, we felt comfortable traveling and getting on planes again, which has been amazing!” a Marlborough student said.
Another newly reopened activity is camp; many camps returned this summer with COVID-19 protocols in place. Over 31% of Marlborough students attended sleepaway camps over the break and were able to take part in some of the recreational pastimes that were missing from the past summer.
“I was able to go to my camp, Laurel South, which was so fun,” Alexandra ’26 said. “Because we were all tested and vaccinated, it felt very safe like we were in our own bubble.”
However, much uncertainty remains surrounding the safety of traveling, even for people who have been fully vaccinated.
“We had planned to go to Spain for several weeks but it unfortunately got cancelled,” a survey respondent said.
As the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus spreads globally, restrictions on international travel are being restored.
Emerging Delta Variant:
Just as normal life was opening up this summer, a new strain of COVID-19 called the Delta variant began to spread rapidly across the United States. The Delta variant created more confusion and distrust surrounding the vaccine and its effectiveness against the new strain.
CBS News reports that vaccinated people can still catch the Delta variant, but that they experience less severe symptoms than individuals infected who are unvaccinated. Also, the chance of fully vaccinated individuals getting hospitalized due to the virus is low. Nonetheless, many people are feeling a sense of deja vu to the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
“Just as I was feeling like the pandemic was getting better, the Delta variant reminded me of what life was like at the beginning of 2020 when everyone was isolated and we couldn’t see our friends,” Eloise ’24 said.
Although Delta cases are rising in Los Angeles county, Marlborough is still planning to have students back in person for school at the end of August. In a survey sent out to Marlborough students about the school’s COVID-19 precautions, 100% of students surveyed said they are comfortable going back to school in person if everyone is vaccinated, whereas only 60% reported feeling comfortable if not all students received the vaccine.
“Marlborough’s protocols would be fine under regular COVID-19 circumstances, however, with the Delta virus, I do suspect that it will not be enough and we will end up returning to online school shortly after going back,” a survey respondent said.
Some families are eager to have their children return in person to school to make up for the past 18 months that students, however, others feel the Delta variant is too dangerous. Mixed emotions about this coming school year have put Marlborough in a tough position that feels similar to the beginning of the pandemic just as students felt they were moving past it.
“I know that Marlborough will do everything in their control to keep their faculty and students safe, and they would not do anything to put us at risk,” a survey respondent said.