by Leah Dwyer
COVID-19 vaccines have begun rolling out, making the world is hopeful that a return to some form of normalcy is nearby. Some Purchase students have been able to receive one or both of their vaccines.
According to the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, as of March 23 26.1% of the state population has received at least one vaccine dose, and 13.4% has completed the vaccine series.
“Now that more vaccinations are getting out, I'm finally starting to feel like I can breathe again,” said Madison Fetzer, a sophomore journalism major. “I know everything is far from over. I'm just happy that we as a country will soon see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Fetzer was eligible for the vaccine because of asthma and got her first shot on March 9.
“I feel bad admitting this, but the only reason I got my vaccine so quickly is because my mom is a doctor and her office just started distributing the vaccine.”
With vaccines rolling out, some people seem to be having a difficult time making appointments. For these students, that was not the case, all of which describe themselves as being lucky.
“I did not have this problem; I got an appointment for the next day,” said Hayden Singh, a junior math and computer science major. “I was told I was very lucky.”
Singh received both vaccine doses, their first in late February. They were eligible because they have narcolepsy.
For Fetzer and Amanda Christiano, the vaccine was made available to them through connections.
Christiano has received both shots. She received the first in late January because of her work at a hospital.
“I was lucky in that the process was quick and easy for me,” she said. “I also was very fortunate in that I did not have to travel to receive the vaccine as it was administered at my place of employment.”
For Fetzer and Christiano, the process was quick and easy, both compared it to be similar to the yearly flu shot.
“It was very similar to my experience receiving the flu vaccine,” said Christiano. “It was relatively painless and simple.”
Fetzer said she was asked a few questions, then sat in the chair and received her vaccine.
“The vaccine was extremely painless too,” she said. “I'd say it almost hurt less than a flu shot. I barely felt the needle enter my arm.”
After the inoculation. she was monitored to make sure there were no side effects.
Singh’s experience was similar but seemed much more in-depth than the other two. They described the National Guard being both inside and outside of the building. They also had to get both their identity and eligibility confirmed.
“The vaccine area was an all-white series of semi-private pods, sort of like a dentist's office,” they said.
Post-vaccine they were given an information packet, a flyer, a fabric mask and an “I got vaccinated” sticker.
Singh said, “Suffice to say, the COVID vaccine process was outrageously different than a regular vaccine.”
After each of the students received their vaccine, the next few days they looked out for any side effects. The only thing that seemed to have made a difference in the days following, however, was soreness from the injection site.
“After the vaccine I felt absolutely fine. The only thing was my arm was pretty sore for the next day or two,” said Fetzer. “Honestly, the one thing I feel the most is relieved.”
“I thankfully had only minor symptoms after both vaccines. After the first, it definitely was more sore than it has previously been after receiving other vaccines,” Christiano said, “The second vaccine caused some diffuse muscle aches and extreme fatigue for a day and a half. I went to bed early, slept in the next morning and woke up feeling absolutely fine.”
“I felt fine the day I got my shot,” said Singh. “When I woke up the next morning, my arm was a bit sore and had some limited motion.”
Singh and Christiano mentioned taking painkillers, both claiming it helped them with the pain and swelling.
For Fetzer, Singh and Christiano, the vaccine— while still being a symbol of hope for the future— meant much more than that.
Singh discussed the worry of being high-risk, as well as having high-risk family members.
They said, “Some of us may like to believe we're illness-proof, but we aren't -- especially when it comes to COVID.”
Christiano described the hope of being able to protect patients in her hospital.
“I would just say I'm more relieved than anything,” said Fetzer. “I've always been scared of COVID because it would have serious impacts on people very close to me.”
Christiano said, “I do feel safer in public and less paranoid about being a potential vector of disease.”
For Singh relief is there, but the worry of long-term effects still stands.
“I'm a bit relieved now, but I'm still nervous of getting COVID because nobody knows what other illnesses could come from it,” they said. “I’m disabled as it is, so those things concern me.”
Although the vaccine doesn’t mean that the pandemic is over, it appears to be a beacon of hope for a normal future and keeping more people safe.
“I miss crowds and boisterous, sweaty concerts and observing facial expressions, but these are feelings of nostalgia shared by the majority,” said Christiano. “They don't make me feel too down since I know that I will experience them one day. The vaccination makes me feel hopeful that this day will come sooner.”
“Forget yourself for a second," said Fetzer. "Think about it. If you get the vaccine, then you most likely won't get COVID-19. And if you can't carry COVID-19, then you won't kill your grandma. Killing grandmas isn't okay. Just get the vaccine."