By Esther Paul – Copy Editor
Vaccines that combat the novel coronavirus and the disease it creates—Covid-19—are coming soon to a clinic near you. The question at Rutgers University-Newark is: Are students ready to roll up their sleeves to take it?
So far, the answer appears to be maybe.
“I still have not decided if I want to be vaccinated,” said Candacy Jeffrey, a 23-year-old Criminal Justice major. “I prefer to observe how others react to it first before I decide.”
She noted its necessity to the historic time we’re in.
“Although it’s skeptical how fast it was developed, it was necessary since we are in a global pandemic,” Jeffrey said.
Others are skeptical of the process it took to become available.
“With everything so complex I understand why they made it available so quickly, but I am still skeptical,” said Lachelle Parrish, a 21-year-old student at the Business school. “I just really don’t know about the vaccine.”
It’s been one month since University Hospital created a Covid vaccine clinic at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark. The vaccine administered there came from the Pfizer-BioNtech consortium. The clinic, set and structured with guidance from state and federal officials, can admin-ister at least 600 vaccinations daily, the university said in a statement. Robert Johnson, the dean of the medical school and interim dean of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical school, was among those who took it.
On December 15, Johnson sleeved up and received the vaccine during the opening of the Newark clinic in Newark. “This vaccination is one of the most important steps we can take to protect us from the devastations of Covid-19,” Johnson said.
At the time, the vaccine was only available to healthcare workers and long-term facility residents. Currently, New Jersey is still rolling out to those eligible as well as moving to Phase 1B, which includes first responders and individuals at high risk. The vaccine received authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 11.
The University, in an email sent out to students Jan. 11, said: While Rutgers will look to offer vaccination when it is allowed to, Rutgers does NOT have vaccines as it is not currently authorized to vaccinate its community.” In the January 2021 update, the president has also said the return to the campus in Spring 2021 is central to “the progress we can make in vaccination against COVID-19.”
As the return to the classroom seems shaped by the vaccination program, students are unsure if to take it.
On the other hand, some students have made up their minds, due in part to the virus not being as deadly for their demographic.
“I probably will not take the Covid vaccine, just for the fact that I am 22-years-old and it’s not mandatory for me to take it,” said Raphael Nartley, Honors Living Learning Community student. “If I did contract Covid-19 my symptoms won’t be as severe as someone elderly.”
For one professor, John Keene, professor of American and African studies, he will be taking it and admonishes the African American community to do the same.
“I do plan to get the vaccine when it is available, and I hope that as many Black people in the US and across the globe can be persuaded to get vaccinated with safe vaccines to prevent Covid-19 as the vaccines become available. (Cost, availability and access are going to be crucial, I think, both in the US and across the Black diaspora, as will be the case across the globe in general.),” Keene said.
It is unsure when the vaccine will be made available to the University as well as the general population. It is advised by the State for those who are planning to take it to register through the vaccine registration site.