Asa Daniels, Campus Carrier staff writer
On Jan. 15, staff, student workers and residents at The Spires received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Both residents and staff had the option of getting the vaccine.
According to sophomore Isabel Santiago, concierge student supervisor at The Spires, 99% of residents got the vaccine, while a little over 50% of staff, a mixture of students and non-students, got the vaccine.
As Santiago further explained, Floyd Medical Center received a large shipment of the vaccine on Jan. 13. From there, Berry and Floyd worked together to organize and execute the operation of providing vaccines at Spires. The vaccine administration was split between two groups, Block A being the vaccines given to residents and Block B being the vaccines given to staff.
For those who received the first dose on Jan. 15, the second dose will be provided on Feb. 12, as the second jab of the Moderna vaccine is supposed to occur 28 days after the first. If a person was not able to get the vaccine while the first dose was being distributed, they may be able to receive their primary dose when the second jab is being administered.
Junior Solim Tegnama, a student worker at The Spires, was happy with how quickly the vaccine was administered.
“If you were interested, all you had to do was set up an appointment and come in and get a shot,” Tegnama said. “It was really easy. No big planning or having to do a routine of something before you take the shot.”
Students completed a short questionnaire and were told to wait 15 minutes after the shot in case any side effects or allergic reactions arose.
For The Spires residents, the event of the vaccine was turned into a safe, socially distanced celebration of operating through the COVID-19 pandemic and getting the vaccine.
“The Spires really just turned it into this celebration we’ve had very minimal cases throughout since we’ve been open and so it was like one big party after you would get your shot,” Santiago said. “And then they gave you a little certificate being like, ‘yay, you’re super you did it! It was so it was just so cute.”
Santiago explained that The Spires staff did what they could to make sure residents were making a fully informed decision about the vaccine.
“We had some of our staff members for some of our residents that might not be able to see as well or read as well, we had them sit down with those residents and read them out the fact sheet and all of the disclaimers [and] everything, just so they were prepared to make that decision on their own and it was really great,” Santiago said.
For Santiago, the administration of the vaccine signals that a turning point may be on the horizon in terms of COVID-19 precautions and life at The Spires.
“Of course, we’re still going to wear masks and social distance and have small events, but it’s encouraging to see how we can kind of open up to the possibility of, like, maybe slightly larger events or just stuff like that,” Santiago said. “We don’t have to be so worried because everyone will be vaccinated, but that’s like far future thinking but it’s exciting.”
Santiago explained that Laurie Steber, executive director at The Spires, made sure that the student workers at The Spires were included in the vaccine rollout. She said that The Spires made sure to contact the student workers and worked around any specific schedule challenges to their vaccine administration.
For sophomore Dylan Swan, part of housekeeping staff at The Spires, the side effects were minimal and within the expected effects of the vaccine.
“That Saturday I had a few errands to run and by the end of the day, I was really fatigued, like more fatigued than normal, and then my arm, in the area where I got the shot, was very, very sore for about 42 hours after,” Swan said. “That’s pretty much the only side effects that I’ve ever felt, but I know everybody’s body is different and reacts differently.”
Swan believes that it is important for college students to get the vaccine if they’re able, even if symptoms are minimal or nonexistent for most college students.
“We’re one of the most active generations out there right now, especially with political stuff and protests and all that kind of stuff, we’re out there, we’re in the front,” she said. “Even if you’re not looking at the political side of things, we’re athletes, we’re in classes every day, we’re working, and especially for students that work at The Spires, we’re around high-risk people that could potentially get hurt from coronavirus, so I think it’s most important for our generation to get this vaccine, or consider it, because we’re upfront and out in the workforce more than I feel like a lot of other people are.”
However, even if a student gets the vaccine, they still need to continue to follow COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions to limit spread, as they can still be carriers of the virus.
“You can still get it and spread it,” Tegnama said. “I feel like the vaccine is just helping prevent any real bad side effects of getting it, like how people are losing their sense of smell, taste, [and] getting sick.”