Student Opinion: Who Should Get The Vaccine Next?

Credit: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty

By Alex Hernandez-Zavala

“A dismal failure thus far.”

Upon taking office, these are the words of President Joe Biden speaking about the vaccine rollout in the United States, reported by Kaiser Health News (KHN).

The vaccine rollout in the United States has been lackluster, especially in Northern California, where the supply for people needing their second dose is short. An LA Times article surrounding the matter explains, “securing a first dose is getting more difficult. That’s because large amounts of the new supplies are being reserved for people needing their second dose — leaving fewer shots for everyone else who’s eligible.”

Though Northern Californian counties, such as Yolo county, are in Phase 1b, as detailed by KCRA, we’ll need to ration our supply. Once our frontline workers and elderly are vaccinated, we should focus our efforts on getting our teachers vaccinated and kids back in the classroom. 

Even though the vaccine rollout wasn’t executed in the best way, we are still progressing and are nearing the next phase. Among those in Phase 1b, as detailed by the CDC vaccine rollout guideline, teachers should be at the top of the list. 

It’s no surprise that students’ academic performance over the past year has dipped––for various reasons. But the main impact of this is the student’s environment. In a classroom setting, every student has access to the same resources and materials as their peers do, but that changes dramatically as those resources become limited when moving to an online-only environment. 

The best example of this is an internet connection. In an online environment, internet connection varies from household to household. Some households may not have access to the internet. Though some schools in the Nor-Cal area provide a hotspot for students who don’t have access to an internet connection, they are only temporary and limited in the capacity they can perform. 

Though students will have a different experience going back to school, once officially back, they will have the same access to those missing essential resources needed for academic success.

Not only would students benefit, but the whole community would reap from its benefits as well. The Sacramento Bee offered survey results of what counties are most likely to reach herd immunity first, depending on how many people opt to take the vaccine. Though this survey doesn’t offer any demographic information, if teachers were the first to take the vaccine, that would build rapport among the rest of the community and give a more positive outlook about the vaccine. 

This issue has definitely hit home.

 I have seen the shortcomings of an online curriculum firsthand. I have a little sister who’s in the first grade and has been doing online schooling for almost a year. I remember when I was in elementary school, class was from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., yet she now goes to school from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. 

It’s pathetic. That isn’t enough instruction time, and it’s showing.

Right now, my sister struggles with reading and writing. I’ve tried to help, but I have so much on my plate already that I have enough trouble finding time to help her. My parents also can’t provide comprehensive help since English is their second language, and they have a limited education. 

Oh, and don’t even get me started on her teacher’s availability; it’s virtually nonexistent.

Usually, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, the school I went to and the one my sister is currently enrolled in, had an after school program where students would get homework help, food, etc. But, the resource was scrapped––a necessary program that extensively helped me during my elementary years.

It just provides more proof that the online system is simply not working. 

Education is paramount to keep our societal stability and continual progression. Though the last year was a drawback, we need to get students back to the classroom and back to an environment where they can strive once more. 

Alex Hernandez-Zavala is a first-year student at UC Davis, double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. He was born in the Central Valley and raised in Salinas, California.

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  1. Keith Olsen

    Good article, I agree teachers should be high on the list for getting the vaccine and that home schooling isn’t working.

    I received my second shot this morning, I’m an old white guy who fell in the second tier, 65 and over.

      1. Keith Olsen

        I was told today that most people over 55 haven’t been getting too sick from the second shot and that they’re seeing that people under 55 will more often suffer symptoms.  Makes no sense.

        1. Tia Will


          Two thoughts:

          1. This kind of anecdotal assessment of “severity of symptoms” should not and cannot be used to try to “make sense” of subjective phenomena.

          2. Having said that, I can think of one physiologic reason this effect could be seen. But first, one must understand what those symptoms occurring after a second immunization means. They are an indicator of a more robust immunologic reaction. This is exactly what we would expect to see in a younger population.

        2. Keith Olsen

          This kind of anecdotal assessment of “severity of symptoms” should not and cannot be used to try to “make sense” of subjective phenomena.

          Anecdotal?  I was told that by a doctor in the vaccine clinic.

          They are an indicator of a more robust immunologic reaction. This is exactly what we would expect to see in a younger population.

          Yes, my son is a doctor and when I got back home I called him and he gave the same answer.

  2. Bill Marshall

    The focus, in my opinion, should be on likelihood of being a ‘carrier’… transmissivity… 106 year old folk don’t get around much… rather than protecting just older folk, healthcare folk, we need to target the folk who are interacting with others, frequently… until we fully address transmission/transmission rates, we’re just treading water… not sinking, but not making much progress to getting on dry land…

    I was going to wait, but spouse wanted hers in the 65-older tier, so I went along…

    Who should be first priority if vaccines are limited… the 106 year old, or the younger folk that visit them?

    Problem is, we don’t “know” that vaccination prevents folk from being “carriers”…

    The other issue also involves teachers… a significant # of them are anti-vaxxers… if it is important that teachers get vaccinated, it is at least equally important that those who refuse wither stick to on-line teaching, or be dismissed… and vaccinated folk take their place.

    Main thing, is we need to ramp up the production and distribution/administration of vaccines, and require those that don’t want them, to self-isolate.  Transmission control should be goal # 1, as I see it… otherwise, just “treading water”…

    1. David Greenwald

      “106 year old folk don’t get around much”

      No Bill, you’re not thinking three-dimensionally. She lives in a home. There is staff coming and going and visitors coming ago. They did a great job of keeping COVID out, but they had to completely lock down the facility and keep people away from them. If she got sick, that would be it. The last two times she got even a cold, she ended up with pneumonia and in the hospital.

      1. Bill Marshall

        So, she couldn’t transmit… those that tend to her could.

        You ignore the main thrust of my post (pro forma, for you)… we have to stop the transmission…

        Just had an extended family member die (age 97)… not from Covid, except indirectly… his son took him to a VA hospital to get the vaccine… nurse tripped, accidentally dumped him out of the chair he was being transported back in… fracture of 6th and 7th vertebrae.. passed within 10 days, despite being cared for @ Walter Reed…

        Uncle Bob lived at home with his son, age 64… had his son had priority, already been vaccinated, there would have been little/no need to take his Dad to the VA hospital.

        Am not seeking a do-over for your dear grandmother… I seek to end/curtail the exposure… which is less effective if you are focusing on those who are less ‘out and about’… science… rationality… not emotion.

        1. Bill Marshall

          we have to stop/curtail/minimize the transmission… 

          Italicized words (intended edits) were not accepted, with 2 minutes to go on the “shot clock”… I seem to be sensing a pattern… if someone challenges/responds to one of your posts, David, the shot clock runs fast.  A ‘paranoid’ might suppose…

          I’ve gotten edits in with 30-40 seconds on the shot clock… generally if they were not ‘critical’ nor questioning you or some ‘favored few’…

          I seem to be sensing a pattern…

          1. David Greenwald

            The entire system is automated and it’s all incredibly old. I have no control over how long you have to make edits.

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