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AVALOS: The COVID-19 vaccines: Can you trust them?

Metro Detroiters are deciding whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine since several have been approved. While some trust the vaccine, others are skeptical.

I wanted to get feedback from people I know, so I interviewed Cass Tech science teacher Mr. Ross, Ashley Symone, who a mentor and friend of mine, and my mom, who recently got the vaccine.

Ross got the Pfizer vaccine at the TCF center on Jan. 13. He said the process was fairly simple, explaining how he drove up to the center, parked in the garage, and got a shot in the arm while he sat in the car. Afterward, he waited for 15 minutes before leaving in case of an allergic reaction to the vaccine. 

Some may be wary of the possible negative side effects of this new vaccine, or that the vaccine may be worse than the illness. The CDC reports side effects of the Pfizer vaccine as, “injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, injection site swelling, injection site redness, nausea, malaise, and lymphadenopathy."

Ross said he felt sore and tired the day he took the vaccine but felt fine afterward. Despite these side effects, Ross said he believes the vaccine is safe.

“We have to trust the evidence that we have ... that all points to it’s safe," Ross said.

Ross received the second shot of the Pfizer vaccine on Feb. 3. He says the second shot of the vaccine had worse side effects for him, as he experienced more fatigue than the first shot. 

In a recent CNN town hall, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, said people will be immune 10-14 days after they receive the second shot. 

Ashley Symone, a 28-year-old Black woman who works as the program director for the nonprofit  The Bottomless Toy Chest, has not received the COVID-19 vaccine yet. 

“I’m a little hesitant to see if it’s safe ... I don’t want to be a guinea pig," Symone said. 

She said she has many doubts about the vaccine, as she questions how it was created so quickly in comparison to other vaccines, if the vaccine works for other strands of COVID-19, or if the vaccine causes birth defects. She said she is also concerned about news headlines she’s seen recently where people have taken the vaccine and died, or gotten infected with COVID-19 anyway.

Fauci has said in many interviews that the vaccine is effective and safe.

“There was no cutting corners ... the speed [of the vaccine’s production] was related completely to the breathtaking scientific advancements that have been made over the previous ten or more years," Fauci said in a recent interview.

Ashley says she is aware of the misinformation on social media platforms, and that she is not an anti-vaxxer. She said as a part of the Black community “we have a reason to be hesitant" and mentioned prior events in which the medical community took advantage of and harmed black people, such as the Tuskegee studies. Symone said that while she trusts science, it’s difficult to trust doctors who may want to take advantage of people.

Ross said he understands the distrust between the Black community and the government and is currently teaching a lesson on vaccines to educate his science classes. He said  many people may have many questions about the new vaccines.

“I want to show people that I got it," Ross said. "I want to show people that it’s safe.” 

Experts have said to achieve herd immunity and regain a sense of normalcy in society again, about 70%-85% of the population would need to be vaccinated. This is a number Fauci also cites in interviews. However, the vaccine is not yet available for children under 16.

My parents received the Moderna vaccine in mid-January. Both experienced soreness, tiredness, chills, headaches, and trouble sleeping for the first day after they took the shot. On Feb. 17, they  received the second dose, and said they felt much worse than the first one, experiencing soreness throughout the whole body, fever, chills and headaches for a day. 

At first, my mother was hesitant to get the vaccine because of possible side effects but changed her mind in hopes of ending the pandemic and keeping her family safe.

For information on the demographics for both vaccine trials:

For information on the Moderna vaccine:

For information on the Pfizer vaccine:


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