The COVID-19 vaccine is here in the United States, and now, more than ever, there are myriad questions, thoughts and concerns related to it and its distribution.
In recent weeks, the University of Arizona campus received these vaccines and, consequently, students and staff were eager to learn more. According to UA's health website, there are six designated vaccination spots throughout Pima County, including one on the UA Mall. The UA is working hand-in-hand with Pima County to deliver vaccines at these locations to the Phase 1A and 1B population. Some of the individuals in these groups include education and childcare workers, law enforcement and those working essential jobs.
Speaking with UA students revealed ways in which individuals living on and around campus are reacting to its arrival and how they plan to move forward.
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Taylor Curry is a senior who explained his thoughts regarding how informed he felt and his general sentiments regarding the vaccine.
“I intend to get the vaccine as soon as it is available to me,” Curry said. “I want to return to some semblance of normalcy and the vaccine is the only way.”
When speaking on how he plans to get the vaccine, Curry addressed that he didn't anticipate receiving a vaccine through the UA.
“I pay attention to information coming directly from the county since I live off campus and will probably not receive a vaccine from the university,” Curry said. “I think it will be available for me faster through [the Tucson Medical Center], which is my nearest major hospital.”
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When addressing his general thoughts on the vaccine, Curry spoke about his frustration about all the misinformation.
“I have been really disappointed by the misinformation and disinformation related to the vaccine and would hope that the university is taking steps to educate the student body on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine,” Curry said.
Another UA student, Kian Ghelichkhani, had a similar feeling about the vaccine and remarked how he felt it could improve general safety on campus.
“I will probably get the vaccine sometime within the next few months if possible,” Ghelichkhani said. “I think that the vaccine is a good start to people feeling more safe when they leave their homes.”
In contrast to both Ghelichkhani and Curry was student Andrew Kostainsek. Kostainsek is a University of Arizona senior who resides on campus and had differing thoughts than both Ghelichkhani and Curry in terms of the vaccines overall status.
“I am not by any means an anti-vaxxer but considering this came out so fast when usually it takes 10 years to make an effective safe vaccine, this definitely has me wanting to wait and see how everything plays out until I take it,” Kostainsek said.
Although the vaccine's development was fast, scientists were able to employ strategies like using previous research from the SARS and MERS outbreaks and collaboration on the development process to create the vaccine without skipping any steps.
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When speaking about the vaccine directly on campus, Kostainsek addressed his confusion over distribution as well.
“I do not currently know anyone who has been vaccinated here,” Kostainsek said. “But I am aware there is distribution at the Mall. I am just not informed on the guidelines around it but hopefully this works as planned.”
The distribution process and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine will be a months-long process. With emails sent weekly from the university, students have the ability to learn more as information unfolds. Students wishing to register for vaccination or those with general questions can visit Pima County's vaccine information website to look through guidelines, vaccine locations, qualifications and more.
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