On the front line of vaccination

SPU nursing students get vaccinated and distribute vaccinations

Mary Bruggeman, Staff Writer

Junior Jacob Wong received the Pfizer vaccine at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. (Courtesy of Jacob Wong)

“We don’t know what the side-effects are, but my roommates have gotten [the COVID-19 vaccine] and my parents have gotten it. There doesn’t seem to be much of a side effect,” said third year nursing major Aloera Mae Domingo.

Nursing students were given the chance to get a COVID-19 vaccination this quarter; some chose to take the vaccine while others chose not to.

Nursing students have a cohort, or the group of people they complete their classes with throughout the program.

“I think everyone in my cohort got it except for three people and there’s thirty people in our cohort,” said second year nursing major Liberty White.

White believes getting the vaccine is important because nursing students are working in hospitals.

“I don’t think we’ll be working directly with COVID patients, but we’ll be working in hospitals with acute care, so we are at a higher risk of getting COVID,” explained White.

Though most of the nursing students White knows are already vaccinated, she was unable to get the vaccine this quarter. She needed to get another vaccine for the nursing program and could not get the COVID-19 vaccine immediately afterward.

She and her cohort will be administering the vaccine soon even though she has not yet been vaccinated herself.

“I’m excited,” said White. “It’s just community right now. I think it’ll be a variety of people but mostly older people and healthcare workers.”

While most of her peers were excited about the opportunity to get the vaccine, fourth year nursing student Rachel Mylar shared her doubts about the necessity and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine that caused her to decide not to get vaccinated.

“It won’t put me in the hospital [because she is not in the high-risk category]. It could just be more of a common cold for me. If I were to get it and I am exposed I would just do the quarantine and move on with life after that,” said Mylar. “I think that it should be the individual’s decision. I think if people want to get vaccinated, then they should be able to do that and make an informed decision about it.”

The vaccine the students took (some students were given Pfizer and some Moderna, two different COVID-19 vaccines) required two shots that were two weeks apart. Domingo and Wong agreed that, while the first had no side effects other than a sore arm, the second shot made them sick for a day or two.

“I didn’t get sick after the first one. But, then the second dose, a bunch of my class got a little bit sick at least: a small fever, your arm is sore, you feel just tired the whole day. I got a fever the day after I got it. I just felt really lethargic and was just really not happy that day, but it was gone pretty much two days later,” said third year nursing student Jacob Wong.

Domingo described having similar symptoms, but she did not get a fever.

“It wasn’t really that bad. It just felt like how I would react to the flu shot,” Domingo said.

COVID-19 has changed the way hospitals treat patients. Hospitals must take extra precautions to keep their patients safe, such as not allowing visitors and enforcing social distancing.

Wong said COVID-19 has changed the way he empathizes with patients in the hospital.

“When I’m in the hospital and I see all these patients, some of them I can tell that they are really struggling with their sickness and then there’s an impact from COVID where they have to wear their masks and they can’t see their families and everything. As a nurse, it’s more than just caring for them medically and giving them medication,” said Wong.

COVID-19 has made Wong feel an extra responsibility in caring for patients.

“You want to be there for them and with COVID, since you can’t see people, you’re really all they have within the hospital cause there’s no visitors. It’s impacting me. I see them and I want to help them,” Wong said.