Vaccinations administered at increasing rates By Vincent Niewald

Recently, COVID-19 vaccinations have become available to most Sarpy County residents. Some educators and students at Bellevue East have recently received the vaccine. As with all injections, some risks are associated with COVID-19 vaccines, including some that are serious.

“Serious side effects such as anaphylaxis typically happen within 15 minutes after administration, that is why medical professionals advise you to wait at least 15 min at the vaccine clinic before leaving. Signs of anaphylaxis are shortness of breath, hives, swelling of throat, etc,” school nurse Kala Brown said.

Sophomore Maddie Wheeler said she was getting the Pfizer vaccine. According to, the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective at preventing the COVID-19 virus with symptoms. Wheeler said she was the one to make the choice.

“I actually decided for myself. Yeah, my family was getting it, but I felt like it was something I really wanted to do, just like for myself,” Wheeler said.

Recently, a form of the vaccine has been made available to teachers in Bellevue. Educators for Bellevue Public Schools were provided with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Instructor Brenda Nelson received hers at a clinic held at Papillion-La Vista South High School.

“The entire gym just had a bunch of tables set up and there was a nurse at each table,” Nelson said. “And they had their little supply of  shots, and their little stack of band aids. They took my vaccine card, well, they gave me a vaccine card, and I actually had to fill it out. They said I needed to make sure I signed it, because otherwise it wouldn’t be valid.”

According to, the vaccines are mostly the same overall. There have been some growing concerns over issues with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine specifically, and rumors around it claim that it causes blood clots. The CDC has begun an investigation into these concerns.

“First, I want to be clear, the CDC has not confirmed that the J&J vaccine causes clotting issues. They are investigating a potential link. But, blood clots and blood clotting disorders can be life threatening, leading to pulmonary embolisms, stroke and/or death,” Brown said.

While some people may be hesitant to get the vaccine due to risks, the vast majority of people who have received it end up fine. Nelson didn’t have any side effects after getting her Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and took the time required to wait afterward to socialize.

“Physically I felt fine, and I really, I had no side effects at all. I got to stand around and talk to other teachers for 15 minutes until they told me I could go home,” Nelson said.

While vaccines have become accessible to most of those who wish to revive them, there still aren’t enough people fully vaccinated, and herd immunity has not yet set in. In the end, the goal of the vaccines is to get enough people vaccinated, so that most people will become immune to COVID-19. 

“The vaccine(s) give us protection against contracting the COVID-19 virus,” Brown said. “They are not 100% effective (which is near impossible), but they are proven to be very effective and lessen the severity of illness, should you still contract COVID-19. These vaccines help us get back to normal, reaching herd immunity is essential.”