Southern to organize two vaccine events on campus before the end of the semester

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Update: – In an email sent to campus this morning, it was announced that on Friday, April 16, Southern Adventist University will be providing COVID-19 vaccines for any Southern student, employee, or their immediate family members, age 18 and older, who would like to be vaccinated. The Hamilton County Health Department is providing Johnson & Johnson vaccine for this event. Appointments are required.

“Southern does not require the COVID-19 vaccine,” the email read. “While we encourage you to consider getting vaccinated, we respect the right of individuals to make their own choices regarding this matter.”

Update made on May 7, 2021 @12:58

On March 28, Southern students received an email informing them that there were extra Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines available at a community vaccination event hosted by the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists, and they could be vaccinated if they came to the church immediately. About 30 minutes later, students received a second email informing them that all the extra vaccines had been spoken for by those waiting in line. 

According to nursing professor Jill Buchholz, who was also the event organizer, the vaccine site was “inundated” with students. Buchholz said she is working with the School of Nursing, administration and the Hamilton County Health Department to organize two more vaccine events on Southern’s campus this month. 

“The hardest thing I had to do was send those students away,” Buchholz said. “So, we want to be able to give them an opportunity where they’re not fighting with the community to get vaccines.”

According to Buchholz, the vaccine event on March 28 was for the local community. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., only people who had signed up for an appointment through the Hamilton County Health Department received a vaccine. But at 3 p.m., Buchholz and her team calculated that many people never showed up for their appointments. They had close to 130 extra vaccines, so Buchholz worked with Marketing and University Relations to send the email informing students about the opportunity. Buchholz and her team were able to administer all the extra vaccines. However, she said not all the extra vaccines were given to students because some Southern faculty, Southern staff and community members also came after 3 p.m.

Buchholz said future vaccine events will require people to sign up for appointments. But if extra vaccines become available, Southern will send an email to students like the one sent on March 28. 

According to Buchholz, one of the vaccine events will be completely set up through Southern for Southern students, faculty, staff and all their spouses. The second vaccine event will be for the community, but students can still sign up for it through the Hamilton County Health Department. Buchholz hopes to organize another on-campus vaccine event in May, but the details on that event are still undetermined.

“My dream is to get 3,000 vaccines out by the end of the school year,” Buchholz said.

Buchholz said signups for each event will be made on a first-come, first-served basis, and students should carefully watch their emails for more information about dates and vaccine supply. She also said both medical and nonmedical students can sign up to volunteer at the vaccine events at southern.edu/serve. If extra vaccines become available, volunteers automatically become first in line to receive them. 

Junior nursing major Sierra Anderson volunteered as both a traffic conductor and vaccine administrator at the vaccine event on March 28 and received a vaccine herself. Anderson said she got chills, a headache, muscle and joint pain, and tiredness about nine hours after being vaccinated. She had these symptoms for about 18 hours, but she was still very glad to be vaccinated.

“After researching for a few months, I decided that I wanted the Johnson & Johnson version,” Anderson said. “I am happy I got this one. While there were side effects, side effects are a sign of your body accurately reacting to the virus DNA that was inserted into your tissue.”

Anderson believes it is important that people educate themselves on what is scientifically proven about the COVID-19 vaccines. 

“Whether you are pro or anti-vaccine, it is not good enough to simply take another person’s word and make a choice off of it,” Anderson said. “Really study what you believe.”

Communication Professor Lorraine Ball also received a vaccine at the vaccine event on March 28. She said she felt achy and chilly the evening after being vaccinated, and she had a terrible headache that lasted about 24 hours. However, she described these symptoms as “textbook.”

“I was comforted with the idea that this was not unusual, and I shouldn’t be alarmed,” Ball said. 

Ball chose to get the vaccine because some of her students had gotten COVID-19, and she felt it was important to arm herself with another layer of protection. 

Some students are not planning to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m not an anti-vaxxer or a conspiracy theorist,” said senior English education major Will Reed. “The fact is, no one, including the CDC, knows the potential long-term effects of this vaccine, so I’m waiting it out while protecting myself in other ways.”

Freshman computer science major Esther Peden said she cannot take the vaccine because she has a known allergy to doxycycline and carries other unknown allergies to certain chemicals. 

“For safety reasons, I have to wait about two years before I get a new vaccine so that it can be fully tested,” Peden said.

Other students are planning to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“COVID has become very serious, and I would like to protect myself and others from it,” said senior theology major Sylvester Smith.

Senior religious studies major Jefferd Daniel said he wants to get the vaccine to help achieve herd immunity.

“I think for me, it’s more about helping us come back to normal society,” Daniel said. “As we all get vaccines, hopefully less and less COVID cases will arise, and eventually, we can come back to life pre-COVID.”

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