Olivia Papp ’23
Students pursuing their undergraduate degrees across America have waited patiently to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Finally, the young adult age group has been getting vaccinated following the elderly population, middle aged population, COVID patients, and healthcare employees. There are three FDA-authorized vaccinations that American citizens have been deciding between which are made by Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses over a recommended 21 days and is 95.3% effective against severe COVID-19 cases. The Moderna vaccine requires two vaccinations over a recommended 28 days and is 94.1% effective in preventing COVID-19 related illnesses after receiving two doses. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine are based on messenger RNA technology. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose and has proved to be about 66.3% effective in clinical trials. The Johnson & Johnson is based on a more conventional viral vector approach. At this point, young adults now face the same choice in vaccine as every other American citizen who has gotten the vaccine.
Trinity students have been travelling off campus to get vaccinated recently. Paola Matos ’23 was able to get vaccinated earlier in January, as she was technically a healthcare employee, working in a hospital in Lowell, Massachusetts over break. Matos offered her thoughts on the Moderna vaccine: “I had to get two doses for the vaccine and got them both over the month of January. Luckily, I was classified as a healthcare worker and was able to build up my immunity earlier than people in my age group. I got the vaccine at the hospital I worked at in Lowell, Massachusetts. I got the first dose in January and the day after I got it, my body was very achy. The symptoms subsided the next night after I got it. It was similar to the flu shot. My arm was very sore, and when I got the second vaccine, the symptoms hit me very hard. I was able to get the second vaccine about 20 days later. The day after I got my second vaccine, I woke up with a fever of 100 degrees. I was super dizzy and then proceeded to throw up multiple times. I was sick for days, but soon I felt fine. After those first few days, I felt no symptoms, and nothing has changed… I still feel fine. It was certainly a rough experience, but I was ultimately glad to help diminish COVID rates in America. I would pick the Moderna vaccine again if I had to,” she said.
Another student, Alyce Segal ’23, was able to get her vaccination in March, receiving the Pfizer vaccination at Hartford Hospital. After being denied due to her identification as a California resident, Segal presented her Hartford Hospital identification card. Segal, before COVID struck, was able to get some off-campus experience in the healthcare system, as she sat and spoke with sick, lonely patients. Due to her association with Hartford Hospital, Segal was able to get the Pfizer vaccination in very close proximity to Trinity’s campus.
“I was kind of nervous to get the vaccination since I usually have very strong reactions to vaccinations. My arm was very sore for a few days following the vaccination. I never got any COVID symptoms following the first vaccination. However, after the second vaccination, I got very sick for a few days. I am really happy to be vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID and I would do it again if I had to. I think if I were to do it again, I might have taken Moderna if I had access to it, even though I’ve heard people have worse symptoms with Moderna. They are about the same, but I’m happy at least to have taken a vaccine,” said Segal.
Olivia Micenko ’23 got vaccinated in New York City and chose to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine since it was only one dose. “I got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine at the Javits Center in New York. You can choose which one you want when you get there. You can go online and make the appointment to do so. It was easier to get it then because it had not opened up to everyone in New York yet. The vaccine was fine, and the process was easy and efficient. The military was running the whole thing. They gave me the shot and I had to wait for 30 minutes before leaving. I had no side effects, but it hurt when I was getting it and it hurt for a few days after like a normal vaccine would. Looking back on the vaccination process, I would not have wanted any other vaccine. It does not take long to kick in and it is only one shot. I’m ultimately happy with my choice,” she said.
While there are three different choices, no one can go wrong with the vaccine of their choosing. At the end of the day, when each of us get a vaccination, we are developing immunity to COVID-19 and are taking a step closer to ending the coronavirus once and for all.