Kueppers: Vaccinate? I hardly know her!

A guide on the COVID-19 vaccine timeline, facts and future.

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Henry Kueppers

It is not required to get the coronavirus vaccine in the state of Minnesota, … but it’s also not required to watch the hit 2002 film “Scooby-Doo.” Yet deep down, you know that you probably should do both of these things. The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are slowly making their way into the mainstream, but for many, the vaccine is also slowly bringing questions, concerns and paranoia. Rest assured, dear readers, that I spent the better part of two hours doing my research and can safely say that I am now an expert on all things COVID-19 vaccine-related. I even took a Buzzfeed quiz that confirms my knowledge of the vaccine is equivalent to Dr. Anthony Fauci, so you are in good hands.

For starters, let’s talk about vaccine rollout. Now, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, we are currently in Phase 1a of the plan. This phase prioritizes giving the vaccine to healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff. And hey, I’m not arguing with that; those are the people who should be getting it first. Of course, the rest of us are wondering who should be next in line. I naturally assumed that, after heroic frontline workers and the elderly, it should be all liberal arts college students. Apparently, this is still up for debate, and according to researchers and scientists, college students shouldn’t expect to receive the vaccine for a few months. Dr. Fauci claims college students can start getting the vaccine as early as April, but this will depend on individual states and their vaccine rollouts.

Currently, rollout progressions are moving as fast as my arthritic Grandma Sue on a steep incline hill: hardly at all. Like nearly every other state, Minnesota has a demand for vaccines that far exceeds the number of vaccines available. As of January 2021, Minnesota is receiving 60,000 doses of the vaccine a week. Yet, any Google search will tell you that Minnesota boasts a population of 5.6 million people. That means we can only vaccinate around 1% of the population with each of our vaccine deliveries. To make matters worse, NPR recently reported that if the United States wishes to meet its “100 million vaccines administered in 100 days” goal, Moderna and Pfizer will need to nearly double their manufacturing. Considering that the companies may struggle to meet contracted targets, it would appear that we college students shouldn’t get our hopes up about getting the vaccine anytime soon.

Now, I’m personally a fan of weird and crazy side effects. I think it would be radical to get the vaccine and just grow an additional arm or be able to taste colors. Sadly though, I can say that you will not be getting any cool superhuman abilities or side effects from the vaccine. The vaccine is very safe and will not alter your DNA or prevent you from getting pregnant. It won’t even give you the coronavirus because none of the vaccines contain the live virus.

Furthermore — despite those who say otherwise — the vaccine was not sloppily rushed. The FDA and the CDC thoroughly reviewed each step and prototype of the vaccine. And if you still don’t believe my reliable source status (see Buzzfeed quiz from the first paragraph), check out this link to a pamphlet that walks you through how the vaccine was made.

I hate to kick you while you’re down, considering you’ve made it this far in my column, but I’m afraid I have one last piece of bad news. It would be awesome to believe that the COVID-19 vaccine is an end-all-be-all solution to this nightmare pandemic world we live in. But it’s not. According to the New York Times, the vaccine rollout alone will not solve everything. In fact, if we lift restrictions too soon or stop wearing masks, we could see an additional 29 million coronavirus infections. Even with the vaccine finally here, the bottom line is that we are not out of the woods just yet, and things will not be returning to normal for some time.

So, my final words to you are to just keep on keeping on. Wear your mask. Take care of yourself and others. Make smart decisions. Be conscious and considerate of your community. And seriously, do yourself a favor and watch the 2002 “Scooby-Doo.” It’s the best thing I’ve done for myself in the past six months.