On March 14, 2020, I was a student attending The George Washington University Law School. At the time, confusion was the name of the game, with students uncertain about the future.
COVID-19 was an anomaly, states began to shut down their economies, and many, including myself, feared that airports would be next.
One week prior, I landed in Washington D.C. after a spring break trip to Israel, and I began planning law school graduation events for my class. The excitement of being able to finish law school after three long years of studying was palpable. We were ready to celebrate the greatest accomplishment of our lives.
However, within days, I was sitting at the Ronald Reagan International Airport, with a one-way ticket to my hometown, not knowing whether I would return to school ever again.
My story is not unique.
Millions of millennials and those in Generation Z across the world suffered from the same uncertainties. What started as a week away from school turned into months and eventually marked the culmination of our education. With all of these uncertainties, young people began to adapt.
School shifted online.
Graduation ceremonies were held virtually.
FaceTime and Zoom became our primary way of socializing.
After several months locked down at home, we finally began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The United States Government announced that three safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines were in production. Although the idea of being vaccinated was enticing for most, many young people were not as excited.
Recent reporting suggests that younger individuals, especially those between 18-25, are less likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
As a member of Generation Z, seeing the increasing vaccine hesitancy in younger people is extremely concerning. Many of us have older family members who are at higher risk of having complications from COVID-19, even if vaccinated. Some of us are immunocompromised and are at a higher risk for COVID-19 related hospitalization.
As someone who has asthma myself, the thought of being infected is anxiety-inducing.
That’s why I got vaccinated, and so too should you.
For over one year, our generation was resilient. We adapted to the pandemic, followed government mandates, and did everything in our power to create a new normal to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Now that we see the light at the end of the tunnel, however, we are simply dropping the ball. As COVID-19 and the delta variant are surging around the country, with Florida reporting a record number of hospitalizations, it is crucial that young people get vaccinated now more than ever.
Protect yourself. Protect your friends. Protect your family.
From one young person to another, please get the vaccine.
Aaron Parnas is a former managing editor of The George Washington International Law Review and serves as an attorney with the Florida Justice Center Board of Directors.