Nurse: Miller

Ms. Krisanne Miller, a nurse at the high school, received the Moderna vaccine during phase two of the vaccination roll-out. She received her first dose on February 6 and her second dose on March 6 at The Gillette Stadium. 

Similar to other interviewees Miller was feeling confident in terms of receiving the vaccine. 

“The vaccine has been given to so many tens of thousands of people around the world with no serious illnesses or deaths, so I felt pretty comfortable getting it,” said Miller.

School Resource Officer: Wall

Officer Matthew Wall, the high school’s school resource officer, received the Moderna vaccination during phase one of the vaccination roll-out. He received his first dose on January 14 and his second dose on February 11 at the Wellesley Fire Headquarters.

Wall describes how he reached the decision of deciding to receive the vaccine.

“I might have had a little bit of nerves going in, but I trusted that it went through clinical trials and that nurses and doctors, who were getting them first, trusted enough to get it. I thought it was a better choice to get the vaccine than not to get the vaccine,” said Wall.   

In contrast to processes for other faculty and staff, as a first responder, Wall was able to sign up with a relatively easy process. 

“The department put out dates available in which they were doing the shots and you just signed up,” said Wall. 

Wall explains his reactions to the vaccine and how different people have different reactions. 

“After the first one, around the 12 hour mark, my arm was very sore to move. The second one, I had some sweats and chills, and I felt pretty much achy for a day,” said Wall. “But that’s just my journey. I have a colleague whose legs hurt so bad, she couldn’t even walk, I have a sister in law who got Pfizer, and she didn’t feel anything.” 

Teacher: Johnson

Mr. Doug Johnson received the Moderna vaccine during phase two of the vaccination roll-out. He has received his first dose and has scheduled his second appointment at The Gillette Stadium.

Similar to many people within the staff and faculty body, Johnson describes the difficult process in booking an appointment. 

“It was so hard. At first, there were just so few appointments, and teachers were competing with over 65 groups. My wife, she’s also a teacher, we would wake up at four o’clock every morning to try to beat the rush and try to get an appointment. We did that for about a week or so and then eventually, my wife was able to schedule appointments for both of us. It was such a good feeling,” said Johnson. 

As well as feeling confidence in receiving the shot, Johnson also shared a laughable moment with the experience. 

“It was interesting,” said Johnson. “The shot is like the tiniest micro needle, so I didn’t even feel it. I thought ‘did I really get it?’ Sure enough, afterwards, I felt pain in my arm: I’m like, ‘yes. I got it.’”

Overall, in terms of pain-related side effects, Johnson explained how it was more painful than regular shots that he had such as a flu shot because it was very hard to lift up his arm and because he felt tired for a couple days.

Librarian: Fiske

Ms. Amy Fiske, one of the high school’s librarians, received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on March 15 at the Reggie Lewis Track Center in Boston, and is scheduled to receive the second dose sometime before April break.

Fiske shares her initial feelings when learning that Covid vaccines would be accessible to her.

“I was really excited because I wanted to get moving with being mostly immune,” said Fiske. 

Fiske also included the angle of how teachers receiving the vaccines will create an overall more healthy and comfortable environment within school.

“I think most teachers are really happy that we suddenly became eligible, especially since we’re going to be coming back to having everybody here and going down to three foot distancing,” said Fiske. “Knowing that I’m vaccinated, and that other teachers are vaccinated, it just feels safer.”

Athletics: McDonald

Ms. MaryAnne McDonald received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine during the beginning of March.  It was administered to her at CVS in Watertown.

McDonald did feel a slight sense of skepticism before being administered a dose, given the amount of coverage and questions that were posed about the legitimacy and safety of the vaccines.

“Was I nervous, maybe a little bit, because it was early on. And if you listen to the news, there’s pros and cons,” said McDonald.   

For McDonald, the deciding factor was the confirmation of protection for loved ones.

“My husband is ill, so this was something that I decided if I was on the fence, this pushed me over the fence,” said McDonald. “I decided that it was time, because he’s been vaccinated already.”

McDonald had a fitting analogy to summarize the whole process of getting vaccinated.

“It’s like riding your bike, you fall down, you get up and keep on going,” said McDonald. 

Teacher: Nkam

Ms. Aurelie Nkam, who teaches French 3H/ACP and German 2 at the high school. She received the Moderna vaccine on March 25.  

Nkam shared a similar belief to many other interviewees about the difficulties that were involved in the sign-up process. She addressed the specific challenges that were posed to teachers. 

“I got some tips from people who were saying that I have to wake up at four o’clock at night to get an appointment,” said Nkam. “I’m a teacher, I cannot just randomly wake up in the middle of night and expect to be really productive in the morning.”

As for finding a substitute, Ms. Nkam found a less stressful alternate solution.

“I scheduled a date after school, instead of in between things,” said Nkam.

Even with the narrative of protection that surrounds vaccinations, Ms. Nkam is not letting her guard down when it comes to the virus.

“My mask is my safety,” said Nkam. “I’m the best person to decide whether I’m safe or not.”

Teacher: Burns

Mr. John Burns, who teaches Intro to Philosophy and World History 9H at the high school, received the Pfizer vaccine on March 11, the day in which teachers officially became eligible to get administered a vaccine. He received his second dose on April 2.

Burns was aware of the risks that could be posed by the vaccines themselves.  But ultimately, it did not let it defer him.

“I would say with any kind of new technology, you need to just keep an open mind that there could be

long term differences from short term results,” said Burns. “I think that that’s just the normal part of the scientific, and particularly medical process. But I made the choice that I was comfortable enough with the newer technology, and I was willing to take that chance.”

Echoing the beliefs of our other interviewees, Burns found the process very chaotic and convoluted, and suggested a reason as for why this may be the case.

“It appears that demand, early in the process, is greater than supply,” said Burns. “So, that doesn’t suggest that anyone was at fault, just that we’re still wanting to be getting relatively early parts of the process, and we should expect that at this point that demand could outstrip supply.”

Burns is not expecting to change his habits that he has developed during Covid anytime soon.

“There are going to be other members of my family who aren’t vaccinated, and there’ll be other members of my friend group that won’t be vaccinated. So, I’m not expecting that my behavior will change in any meaningful way, until we achieve something closer to herd immunity,” said Burns.

Teacher: Prinn  

Ms. Caroline Prinn, who teaches English 9H, 11H and Film 1 at the high school, received the Pfizer vaccine during phase two of the vaccination roll-out. Her first dose was on March 9, and her second dose was on March 30 at CVS.

To Prinn, the vaccine was an extra layer of protection on top of the safety precautions already taken and in place. 

“I have been looking forward to the vaccine. I followed the news, reports about the safety of the vaccine and how it had been developed, and the CDC guidelines,” said Prinn. “I felt comfortable getting the vaccine and was thinking of it as, like another layer of protection, in addition to wearing a mask, social distancing, handwashing, not not meeting in large groups.”

Prinn has been excited to meet her extended family as well as focusing on her students more. 

“I am looking forward to being in school with this extra layer of protection, and being able to concentrate on being with all of the students at the same time and feel safe because that’s really exciting personally. I’m also excited to be able to see my parents, who are now fully vaccinated,” said Prinn. 

Prinn described how the support from the school, community, and her students have helped with the process of the vaccination. 

“I want to say our school, and the whole community has been very supportive of this process of being vaccinated. Dr. Chisum said to the faculty to just take the appointment and to get whatever you can get, take the appointment and we will figure out how to cover it. Teachers don’t like to miss classes, but I felt that the school, the system, and really my students were understanding,” said Prinn. “How we’re continuing to do the pool testing, I have just been so appreciative, the whole school year of the administration and the community. So I feel like the support that I felt for the vaccine was like an extension of the support that I felt all along with everyone being tested, all the safety protocols that the safety team has put in place, and all the students being really good about following safety protocols.”

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By Ian Lei

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