Meridian’s experience with COVID-19 vaccine

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photo by Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson, Meridian guidance counselor, with her paper proving she’s gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.

Many essential workers, such as healthcare workers and teachers, have decided to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including Meridian High School resource teacher Lee Hicks.

“I got my vaccine Wednesday, January 27, in Vandalia,” Hicks said. “It was really important to me to feel safer, for you guys and for my own children and for my parents.”

Currently, in Illinois, there are 1.12 million COVID-19 cases and 21,074 deaths (Google News).

“I just wanted to be as safe as possible,” Hicks said.

According to AARP, some possible COVID-19 vaccine side effects are injection site pain, fatigue or tiredness, headache, muscle pain, fever, chills, and joint pain.

“The actual shot? I barely even felt it go in,” Hicks said. “It was literally nothing.”

Hicks is now one of the many Meridian teachers vaccinated, along with English teacher Christy Wherley.

“The actual shot didn’t hurt at all, but by the end of the day and yesterday, and some even today my arm hurt,” Wherley said.

Wherley also experienced some side effects like headache, sore throat, and fever.

“I have an older mom and I want to be able to see her and hug her and spend time with her again,” Wherley said. “[…] I’m also ready for school to be back to normal.”

Some Meridian students, who cannot yet get vaccinated against COVID-19, had a lot to say about their teachers getting the vaccine.

“Personally I feel like the vaccine should be mandatory. I’ve done tons of research on vaccinations,” senior, Arwen Baker said. “Teachers getting the vaccination would be a positive step towards things going back to normal, and I definitely think they should be prioritized because of all the work they have put in and all the dangers to their health they experience while doing their job. ”

Other students had similar opinions.

“I think it’s good that the teachers are able to get the vaccine early because they’ve already had to do so much extra for us this year, ” junior, Madison Sapp said. “They don’t have to, but it definitely should be an option for them and I’m glad it is.”