Everyday life is a series of unexpected events. We hope and pray for the best outcome of each day, but sometimes, we get the exact opposite. Covid-19 changed our lives in the blink of an eye. I remember questioning the virus and its ability to spread. I thought it would never reach Pennsylvania, let alone my hometown. It wasn’t until I had to wake up each morning and watch my teachers instruct from a webcam that I realized how much of a serious matter this was.
As the days would pass, cases and number of deaths would rise. Not only was I fearful, but I was concerned for our future as well. The United States was starting to divide. The presidential candidates weren’t making matters any better by making masks a political debate. You were either a part of those that were masked or those that were unmasked, and I wondered why this was even a debate. People were and still are dying.
Some of my friends would call Covid-19 a hoax and would make fun of me for wearing a mask, but I promoted that it was better to be safe than sorry. I was okay with being the “scared one” as long as I felt I was doing the world justice.
After a year of masks, closed businesses, lost jobs, and participating in school from behind a computer, vaccines were finally made to prevent spreading and contracting the virus. This was the answer I thought we all were waiting for, but some found this worse than wearing a mask. People fear the vaccine because they don’t know what’s in it and are nervous of the side effects that may occur. On the other hand, I received mine as soon as I got the chance. I partake in sports for my school, and I couldn’t risk having to quarantine in place of a big championship.
Everyone’s question was the same. “Why?” My answer is simple. Progression. Everyone has the same opinion about quarantine. Some might find it pointless. Others may find it necessary, but the common ground is we all want to get out of it.
The only answer to this is progression, and progression starts with trust. I put my trust into the vaccine to prevent myself from getting COVID and to lessen the chance of someone else testing positive. For those concerned about the symptoms, two weeks after I received my second dose of the vaccine, I won a state championship. I can’t speak for all the vaccinated people, but I had no side effects, and I perform and feel great.
I received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and directly after I got the shot, I didn’t have any regrets. Getting the shot had to be the easiest process I have ever went through. I just wish people would see it the same way as me. What I see is an opportunity to return to normal. Not the “new” normal we were forced to get used to, but the “real” normal; the normal without the masks, remember? We could travel, play sports, go to work, go to school, and even see our families we may not get to see so often.
I encourage everyone to seize this opportunity while we have it because COVID-19 seized the opportunity to put our daily lives at a pause. This is our chance to take it back. This is our chance to make history exactly what it needs to be, history! COVID-19 is never going to die if we keep it present, so once again, I encourage you to get the vaccine.
Think about all the different events COVID-19 is preventing you from participating in. Now, think about all the different people you’re unable to see due to the virus. You can be one of the many people that are choosing to progress forward. You can be a leader. I encourage you to set an example by being the first in your family or the first in your friend group. One gesture can make a huge impact. I can’t tell you how this vaccine may improve your life, but I know you can think of a few ways, even beyond the examples I stated.
I want to see everyone take control of their lives again, and safely. After nearly two long and difficult years, what more can I say than I deserve it, you deserve it, we deserve it? We’re so close yet so far with getting our lives back, so let’s make an impact. If I can do it, I have no doubt that you can too. If you are unable to receive the vaccine, please study and perform all the necessary precautions. You’re helping more than you think. Stay safe and make a change!
Allen Trevan Taylor won a gold medal in Hurdles at the 2021 PIAA Track and Field Championships. Tré graduated from Williamsport Area High School in 2021 and is currently a student at Penn State University working with Let’s end COVID!