Students consider vaccine options

Massena Central High School Class of 2020 graduation. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Massena Central High School seniors who plan to attend the prom and graduation ceremonies need to start thinking now about getting COVID-19 vaccinations or obtaining negative COVID tests.

That was the word from high school Principal Alan C. Oliver, who detailed timelines for those who would choose to have the vaccinations.

The prom is scheduled for June 12. Graduation has been scheduled for June 25, with a rain date of June 26. Anyone attending those events must show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 testing.

Mr. Oliver said, if students wanted to be vaccinated, they had the choice of three types —Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Each had its own timeline that needed to be followed.

The Pfizer option would consist of two shots, three weeks apart, and then a two-week wait after the second shot to be fully vaccinated.

The Moderna option would consist of two shots, four weeks apart, and then a two-week wait after the second shot to be fully vaccinated.

Those who chose the Johnson & Johnson option would receive one shot, and would need to wait two weeks after the shot to be fully vaccinated.

“Basically speaking, they’ll all give you a level of vaccination... and any of these will get you into the prom and graduation. Those are really the three choices you have if you’re looking to have a vaccination for these end-of-the-year events,” Mr. Oliver said.

Speaking on Tuesday, he said anyone who took the Pfizer option that day would get a second shot on June 1.

“Then you have to wait two weeks later and the day after that you’re fully vaccinated,” he said.

That would take them to June 16 before they were considered fully vaccinated.

Those who took the Moderna option would wait for four weeks for their second shots. That would take them to June 8. Then they would be fully vaccinated two weeks later, on June 23.

Anyone who went for the Johnson & Johnson option would be fully vaccinated two weeks and one day after they took the shot. If they took it last Tuesday, they would be fully vaccinated on May 26.

“If you go for the Pfizer or Moderna shot, you’ll see that you’re not fully vaccinated until after the prom, but before graduation. The student who opts to get the J & J shot this week or early next week has plenty of time to be fully vaccinated before the prom, so that’s a good thing,” Mr. Oliver said. “The other option obviously if you don’t go to vaccination is to get a COVID test. That works just as well (for admission to the prom and graduation).”

But, he said, timing was critical because of the span of time between the vaccinations and being considered fully vaccinated.

“Regardless, no matter what you choose, if your family chooses vaccination, you really don’t have a lot of time to wait. This is something you need to be considering doing right now because of the time frames involved in the vaccination,” Mr. Oliver said.

Anyone who was interested in receiving the vaccination could visit and enter their zip code, and it would bring up a list of places in the area where the vaccine was available and what type of vaccine it was. Anyone 18 or older could show up at any of the sites and receive the vaccination. Anyone under 18 would need parental consent.

“I hope that’s helpful if you’re considering vaccination,” he said.

Mr. Oliver, recognizing that some families might not want the vaccination, stressed that he was only providing information and not making a recommendation.

“Your family has a choice for these large events between vaccination and a negative COVID test,” he said, adding that if they were considering a vaccination, “you definitely have a timeline that you’re running up against.”

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