By Tessa Cherian and Priya Persaud
As of April 6, anyone who is 16 or older is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, opening up more opportunities for immunization to the public. Many people are relying on the COVID-19 vaccine to be effective so they can resume a sense of normalcy within the upcoming months. With recent eligibility of teens for the vaccine, seniors and juniors are looking at the possibility of having a semi-traditional school year and being able to spend more time with friends.
Students who have met the age requirement are scrambling to check their eligibility for the vaccine. Some New Hyde Park Memorial students have been able to obtain the vaccine, but there was variation in scheduling experiences.
Sources from Gauri Shyamnath
Senior Gauri Shyamnath poses for a photo after receiving the first dose of her vaccine at the Javits Center.
“It was really hard to get an appointment and some sites require a doctor’s letter stating that you’re eligible,” said junior Anna Alfieri.
“The process to get the vaccine was not difficult at all. The pharmacist at Walgreens gave it fairly quickly, but you just have to make sure you schedule an appointment,” said sophomore Anjali Patel.
“Getting eligibility for the vaccine wasn’t terribly difficult for me because I am 17, and I volunteer for an ambulance corps and just have been recently certified as an EMT. I think it is easier to access immunization when you have a job or connections,” said junior Nandini Thoppil.
Despite the difficulties of getting the vaccine, students are excited to feel safer and possibly see their friends and families again. The upperclassmen are looking forward to possibly being able to come back to school for their final years.
“After my second dose, I’m looking forward to going outside more and hanging out with my friends. Vaccination for me means one stop closer to reaching a safe and healthy point of a normal life. I wouldn’t say interactions have necessarily changed, but it does feel like my friends and I are not as afraid of COVID-19 compared to a year ago,” said senior Sakib Azgar.
“Ultimately, this pandemic has changed the way people live and the way students learn at school...”
“Now that I’m fully vaccinated, one of the first things I really wanted to do is visit my family that I haven’t seen in over a year. Typically, my extended family meets up together on Thanksgiving and Easter, but that hasn’t been possible due to the current situation at hand,” said senior Nithin Reji.
“When I’m fully vaccinated, I’ll probably stop double masking and hopefully go on vacation! I would feel better knowing I took steps to protect myself and others and feel more comfortable gathering with family and friends,” said senior Sarah Razzaq.
“I look forward to being able to come back to school safely and being able to visit my grandparents without worrying about the virus. This means that I can spend more time with my family and even go to the city occasionally,” said senior Sophia Lin.
“After I am fully vaccinated, I would love to hang out without masks with my friends who are also immunized. The vaccine will provide me reassurance that I am doing my best to prevent the spread of this virus, and I will no longer have the constant fear of spreading the virus to anyone,” said senior Parneet Sekhon.
“The vaccination for me feels like a big step towards going back to normal because I can now comfortably hang out with my friends. Interactions between my friends and family have definitely changed because I am now far more comfortable visiting my family without worrying about either of us getting sick,” said senior Preesha Mody.
“One of the first things I wanted to do after being fully vaccinated was hang out with my friends. Although the guidelines said we could hangout with small groups, I was still nervous as my mom has cancer and my grandpa recently passed. His passing showed me the importance of social distancing, and when I got the vaccine I was happy I could safely be with family,” said senior Lulua Hamdani.
Ultimately, this pandemic has changed the way people live and the way students learn at school. Many students see the creation and distribution of various vaccines as an escape and break from the avid stressors of the pandemic.