Students express interest in booster shots

(Photo by: Ryan Pierce)
(Photo by: Ryan Pierce)

The University Health Center (UHC) announced in an email sent to the student body last Thursday that Southern Adventist University will host an on-campus COVID-19 vaccine event this Friday. The Moderna vaccine will be offered to any unvaccinated individual, according to the email. Fully vaccinated individuals who wish to receive a booster dose must contact the UHC to check their eligibility. 

A second email sent by the UHC last Friday stated that a number of people had expressed interest in receiving a booster dose. As of Monday, September 20, the FDA deems individuals with compromised immune systems or those age 65 and older eligible to receive a booster shot.

Social work graduate student Jasmine Townsend is one of those individuals. She said she is eligible to receive the booster shot and plans to get it at the vaccine event this Friday.

“The reason I am getting a booster shot is because I provide direct services to people experiencing homelessness,” Townsend stated in an interview with the Accent. “The population I serve does not have the same ability to isolate or self-quarantine from others. Getting a booster shot decreases the likelihood they would acquire COVID-19 from me. Being vaccinated prevents an interruption of life-sustaining services to my clients as well.”

Townsend additionally stated that receiving a booster shot and experiencing the symptoms first-hand would help her relieve the anxieties of her clients.

“I can talk specifically about the immune response I had: tiredness, headache and fever,” she said. “This helps my clients to make an informed decision about getting vaccinated or choosing to get a booster shot.”

Senior nursing major Samuel Kumendong stated in an interview with the Accent that he is planning on receiving a booster shot this Friday as well.

“It’s for my safety,” Kumendong said. “I want to keep the risks of getting extremely sick to an all-time low so I don’t fall behind in my classes, especially since I’m going to the ICU for clinicals this semester. It’d be in the best interest for me and my patients.”

Kumendong said he is not eligible to receive a booster shot as of Sunday, September 19. However, the Friday email from the UHC stated that healthcare workers may soon be eligible once the CDC approves them.

Junior mathematics major Collin Kilmer stated in an interview with the Accent that he is not planning on getting a booster shot this Friday because he is currently not eligible to receive one. However, he would want to get one if he becomes eligible in the future.

“The immunity against breakthrough [infections] seems to begin to weaken after about eight months,” Kilmer said. “I’d still be totally protected from getting dangerously sick. The data shows that the effectiveness against serious infections doesn’t come down over time like it does for mild infections. … If I were to get a booster shot, it would further reduce the risk of getting a breakthrough case and therefore also reduce my risk of spreading it to others, especially those who aren’t vaccinated at all.”

Junior chemistry major Kevin Gonzalez said he is not planning on getting a booster shot this Friday either.

“I’m not planning on receiving a COVID-19 booster shot because I’ve already been fully vaccinated and haven’t contracted the virus since it started,” Gonzalez stated in an interview with the Accent. “In the future, if things do get out of hand again, I will consider taking a booster shot.”

Gonzalez additionally stated that he would consider receiving a booster shot if it was required for work.

Fully vaccinated individuals interested in receiving a booster shot can call the UHC at 423-236-2713 to find out if they are eligible. The UHC can also be contacted through email at UHC@southern.edu for other health-related questions.

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