Teachers Over 65 Have Received the COVID-19 Vaccine

Carol+Cummings+sits+in+her+classroom+during+the+first+week+back+to+school.+Since+then%2C+she+has+received+both+vaccination+shots.+

Asher Montgomery

Carol Cummings sits in her classroom during the first week back to school. Since then, she has received both vaccination shots.

It’s been thirteen months since the first reported case of COVID-19 in the United States and those cases continue to rise. Despite this, school is still in session, with mandatory masks, socially distanced desks, and hybrid learning. All these measures help to prevent the spread and keep both students and staff safe.   

But teachers Carol Cummings, Katherine Griffin, Tom Paloumpis, and Linda Wilson had the opportunity to do more. They all received the new COVID-19 vaccine.  

 Cummings, Griffin, and Wilson all received their shots at Tampa General Hospital while Paloumpis received his at the University Square Mall. All of them reported that they had nothing but a positive experience, commending the work of the nurses and doctors, saying that everything was well organized and went smoothly. “They were excellent, the people there were very professional and the nurses were exceptionally good,” Paloumpis said.  

 As for side effects, none of the teachers had any major issues. Paloumpis and Wilson said that the next day they did experience soreness in the arm they received the shot in, unlike Cummings and Griffin. “I didn’t have the pain and discomfort that other people had, and I think’s just the luck of the draw,” said Griffin.  

 Despite the vaccine receival, most of the teachers aren’t changing any of their classroom safety habits.  They and their students still sanitize their hands upon classroom arrival, wear their masks, and wipe down their desks every day. They’re still being cautious because of their students and because they know that there is the possibility the vaccine doesn’t always work. “It might not save me completely from getting COVID, but it’ll save me from probably being intubated, which I really wouldn’t look forward to. So I think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages,” said Cummings.  

 With the possibility of more and more people being able to get the vaccine, they’re eager for a sense of normalcy to return, things like traveling without fear, seeing friends and family, school dances, and having a regular learning environment. They understand how fortunate they are and hope that everyone who has the opportunity to receive one, does. “It’s still a miracle to even have the doggone shot,” said Wilson. “I felt privileged to get the vaccine.” 

 And for those who might be skeptical, Paloumpis says “it’s sort of like a civic responsibility to get the vaccine, you owe that to everybody else you come in contact with to get that vaccine.”