Know the facts about the vax

Since I began attending Framingham State University, I have always felt that the safety of myself and my fellow students was a main priority of the University. However, COVID-19 has completely changed the way that I feel being on campus. 

COVID-19 has disrupted the way that FSU looks and operates, but I am hopeful it will one day look closer to normal than it did during the past few semesters because of the decision by FSU to require all students to be vaccinated before attending in person classes next Fall. 

I do not feel scared or concerned about my health because I take proper precautions such as wearing a mask, practicing good hygiene, and sanitizing the surfaces that I come into contact with, but campus life is not the same fun and excitement as it used to be. 

The buzz of students going to and from classes, the race to the McCarthy Center for a quick meal, and the chance of an unexpected encounter with a friend in passing, are all things that I have missed this year. 

Many celebrities have voiced their opinions on vaccine hesitancy and even encouraged young people not to get the vaccine. 

Unfortunately, those views have gained enough traction among many young people who will likely be attending colleges in the fall.

The recent news of Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine pause caused many, including myself, to be concerned about any potential risks that could affect me or the ones I care about. 

Because of this uneasiness, I decided to get the facts by attending a Zoom event hosted by the FSU Health Center in which Dr. Gabriela Vargas, a consulting physician at Boston Children’s Hospital, answered many questions about the vaccine. 

Most people are aware that Johnson and Johnson recently paused the distribution of its vaccine. 

According to Vargas, The Johnson and Johnson Vaccine was paused because they found that six women, ages 18 to 48, developed blood clots within the first one to two weeks of having the vaccine. This is six people out of seven million people vaccinated. 

To put things in perspective, for women at reproductive age taking birth control, one to five per 10,000 women are expected to be at risk for a blood clot each year, according to Vargas. 

The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now recommend the use of Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine as distribution resumes after a temporary pause. 

Many folks also likely have concerns about the speed with which the vaccine has been widely provided to the general public. 

According to Vargas, it normally takes months to years of planning just to get approval to start the pre-clinical phase. After a study looks promising, it then takes “months to years to start phase 1. Then once that’s done, you start phase 2 and so on.” 

Luckily for the 211 million Americans who have received their first vaccination, this vaccine was able to avoid the typical wait times that vaccines are subjected to in order to be approved. Because this is a global pandemic, they were allowed to “cut in line” over other potential vaccines, according to Vargas. 

This event helped alleviate a lot of the stress I was feeling about getting the vaccine. I am relieved to say I have received both doses of the Moderna NIAID vaccine. This has given me the peace of mind to plan visits to see elderly family members and to safely socialize a bit more than I have in the last year. 

After receiving both doses, I experienced some slight side effects such as muscle soreness, aches, and chills, but within 24 hours, all of those symptoms had disappeared. 

I encourage those who are skeptical about getting the vaccine to look at the facts and to inform yourself and others. 

By getting the vaccine, students will create a more safe and friendly community to engage in during their academic studies at FSU.

Students will also miss out on the summer holidays like the Fourth of July and Memorial Day celebrations, in addition to missing out on campus life, if they are not vaccinated. 

Normal is one step closer when everyone is vaccinated.