BYU students share experiences receiving COVID-19 vaccines

Patients wait after receiving their COVID-19 vaccination at the Utah County Health and Justice Building in Provo, Utah. Emily Harrah is one of the BYU students who has received a COVID-19 vaccination so far. She said it took about an hour to receive her second dose of the vaccine because the lines were so long. (Emily Harrah)

BYU students and other Utah Valley residents shared their thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccines, and those who received one said it made them feel safer.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is the vaccinations given so far are doing their job, BYU biology professor Brian Poole said. “Of all of the people who have gotten the vaccine, there has not been a single case who has gone to the hospital or died due to COVID. So it works.”

Emily Harrah, a BYU student who works at the Student Health Center, said she felt comfortable getting the Moderna vaccine because there have been many people who received it and are fine.

“There have also been so many recommendations, not only from scientists and doctors but also from the religious authorities who got it and recommend it,” Harrah said.

BYU senior from Las Vegas Ashley Olson said she feels safer now that she has received the vaccine. Olson works at the Utah State Hospital and received the vaccine in December.

For BYU physics student Aaron Peatross, the vaccine is a way to return to a more normalized life. He said it is the means by which everyone can gather together again, enjoy each other’s company and help one another.

Peatross works at a nursing home as a certified nursing assistant and plans on going to medical school. He said his symptoms were more severe for the second dose of the vaccine. “But it only lasted for about 24 hours and then I felt completely better.”

BYU alum and second-grade teacher Alyssa Haslam received both doses of the Moderna vaccine. She experienced soreness after the first dose and flu-like symptoms after the second. Though the experience was unpleasant, she said she believes it was better than actually contracting the virus.

“I was kind of miserable for about a day, but I think a day in comparison is kind of nothing,” Haslam said. She also feels less nervous spending time with family and others since receiving the vaccination.

A recent BYU study showed there are many reasons people are hesitant or against receiving the COVID-19 vaccine for themselves. For Kara McClellan, an entrepreneur and mother living in Orem, the biggest reason is the virus won’t affect her or her family if she contracts it.

“I am not against vaccines in any way, but I just don’t feel a need or urgency to get vaccinated for something that really isn’t a threat to me or my family,” McClellan said. “I also don’t think we should glorify people who are getting it and shame people who are not getting it.”

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