Some students eager to get vaccinated, others hesitant

Normality—it’s something we all desire to get back to once the pandemic is over. For many people, the way back to “the normal life” is through the COVID vaccine. 

Reggie Smith-Good, a senior pharmacy student who has received the first dose of the vaccine, is one of those ready to return to normal.

“I would rather take the chance with the vaccine than the chance of catching corona,” Smith-Good said.

According to Bloomberg, the vaccination rate is roughly at 1.4 million doses per day in the U.S. 

But as of now, vaccines are only available for people 70 years old and up, people in nursing facilities and healthcare workers, according to Ronald Hill, pharmacy professor at ULM.

Hill said he received the Moderna vaccine because of his exposure to students working in pharmacies and health care settings. And many students have received the vaccine.

Garrett Humphries, a graduate student in the marriage and family therapy, received his Moderna vaccine in December 2020. 

According to Humphries, the medical staff he works with explained that the vaccine had been in production since 2012, but for severe acute respiratory syndrome. The production of this vaccine only had minor changes made. 

Hill explained that this vaccine is the first time mRNA vaccines have been used in humans. But Hill said it’s important to remember that “the technology is not brand new. It’s just new putting it into humans.”

Chardavion Johnson, a junior political science major, said this is the reason he’s waiting before deciding to get the vaccine. 

“I chose not to be in the first number because I’d feel like a guinea pig. I want to examine how others react and research common symptoms then continue from there,” Johnson said.

Hill agreed. Right now, because there isn’t much data about the COVID vaccines, “We’re all guinea pigs,” he said. But he also said to pay attention to the very high percentage of patients who have mild side effects compared to the one incident of a bad reaction.

Hill worries that students who get the vaccine may have the “back-to-normal” mentality and not take necessary precaution. He said students who get the vaccine must realize that wearing a mask and social distancing will not go away once you get the vaccine.

“If I don’t wear that mask when I need to be, I feel like I’m spitting on all frontline health care workers because they are the ones putting their lives at risk,” Hill said.