Teachers in the Leeward District were offered the opportunity to receive the Moderna vaccination shots. The first shot was given in late January and the second shot in late February all at Waianae High School
This event was lead by Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center and assisted by Waianae High School.
NHIS principal Darin Pilialoha said, “I knew that it had a 95% success rate in protecting me. Looking at that percentage, I thought it was pretty close to 100%.”
Teachers also did research and relied on prior knowledge to help direct them toward the decision they made about getting vaccinated.
Blythe Emler NHIS Ukulele teacher said, “I follow everything that science and the media has released so far, and I also watched the Q and A session offered by the DOE for those of us getting vaccinated. I knew that there would be some side effects like headache and body aches and sore arm, but I also knew that it was just my immune system doing its job and learning how to defend from the actual coronavirus.”
Still, some teachers were hesitant in receiving the vaccine.
Alison Gronley NHIS Science teacher said, “I have done a lot of research on the trials that they ran – from the government reports – NPR articles – news articles from Europe – etc. I do not feel confident in getting this vaccine. Trials were rushed, and results were skewed. If you look at the data some companies choose to release results for specific locations and trials instead of the results for all of their trials around the world. This is how they got their 95% effective rating. Omitting data does not inspire confidence in me to get this vaccine. I also do not feel comfortable in a vaccine that has never been tested long term.”
For teachers that did take the vaccine, the side effects varied from person to person.
Richard Harragan NHIS CTE teacher said, “I received Moderna and was pleased. My arm was tender for a day but they say the second one is one that will give you side effects.”
Emler said, “The side effects were unpleasant but only lasted about a day and a half. I would rather feel like crud for a day or so than to get the actual covid19 and risk being sick for weeks or months.”
The question is if the vaccine has an impact on the possible return of students on campus?
Gronley said, “Reports from Europe have shown that young children (elementary school) do not contract this disease as easily as older students. I do think that younger children should be reporting back to school. I do not think that high school children should be coming back to campus because they can easily spread the disease…and yet do not seem to feel any concern about that.”
Emler said, “I personally feel somewhat safer, but not enough to bring everyone back yet. I know that there are some older teachers and staff at our school that are not medically able to be vaccinated, so I would not advise having students return until they too are mostly vaccinated.”
Emler continues, “We have a few students on campus daily and I can say that I will only see 1 out of 10 wearing a mask when walking around with their friends. It doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in bringing high school students back when the few we do have can’t seem to follow directions and put others at risk.”
Pilialoha said, “Until everyone is vaccinated or the virus is controlled and gets us closer to face to face classes. We are not out of the woods yet, but it gets us closer.”