Over the past year, life for a typical high school student has been far from normal. Students have had to engage in online learning, give up large social gatherings, and even miss out on regular sports and activities. With hopes of returning to normal life, Senior Holly Ackermann may be the first student at A-West to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ackermann works at the Nightingale Suites and Ralston Creek neighborhood assisted living homes. She enjoys spending time with residents and listening to their stories. She has worked at Nightingale Suites for over a year and works as a receptionist and a dining room assistant.
In an Instagram post, Ackermann explains, “When I first started working at Nightingale [pre-covid] I soon fell in love with my job,” she continues, “I learned how much of an impact I could make by just smiling, being positive, and engaging in conversation.”
Her job brought her great joy and satisfaction as she served the residents, but that action took a halt in March when the pandemic shut down the country. Ever since then her job was greatly affected. In order to accommodate for social distancing, in-person dining was no longer offered. They tried to switch to communal dining, but soon that was canceled too. Aside from the difficulties of accommodating COVID-19, there was a concern for the health of the residents.
“The people with memory issues are particularly bad at wearing masks and social distancing. This frustrated many residents that were more concerned. When we had a covid outbreak I was worried many of the residents wouldn’t survive. However, everyone made a full recovery! I think at this point residents are less concerned about the virus. They are tired of being stuck in the building, not being able to see any family,” Ackermann expresses.
The COVID-19 vaccine was officially approved by the U.S Food and Drug Association on December 11, 2020. Since then, the vaccine has been rolling out in waves in an effort to give access to high-risk individuals and frontline workers as soon as possible.
Ackermann is proud that she got the opportunity to receive the vaccine on January 19. She is excited to see what the future holds and cannot wait to get back to spending time with the residents.
“I am very hopeful about the vaccine! That’s why I got it. I will do anything I can to help this situation,” Ackermann exclaims.
With one student having received the vaccine, there is only hope for more. At A-West, most students are hopeful that the vaccine will bring the world back to a sense of normalcy. Others still fear that the vaccine came out too quickly and will cause serious side effects.
Junior Grace Lamirato is concerned about the vaccine, “I’m scared because it came out so fast. I understand that we all want a sliver of hope to hold onto, but honestly, I think a little more testing should be done.”
Other students are ready to take the vaccine immediately.
“It makes me hopeful and excited”, senior Mason Stamps expresses, “It gives us the possibility of getting back to a more normal life and being able to safely see friends and family.”
In a survey conducted of 168 Arvada students and families, 53% know a family member that has received the vaccine. This means that the vaccine really is starting to become more prevalent throughout the country. In the same survey, 80% said they would get the vaccine once it was available to them, with the other 20% saying they would not. If a large percentage of the population plans on taking the vaccine, and it is as effective as experts say it will be, then herd immunity will help protect those who can not take vaccines for health reasons.
Now that Ackermann has received the vaccine, she provides a ray of hope for other students at A-West that the world may one day return back to normal.