The days where only a small portion of high-risk citizens could get the COVID-19 vaccine are finally over. As of March, any Georgian 16 and over can get the vaccine.
Here at ABAC, the vaccine came right to the students with the health center setting up a vaccination clinic in the Gressette Gym on April 15 from 1:00pm-3:00pm. Students were vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine, and were given instructions on how to receive their second dose in a month.
Originally, ABAC intended to administer the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine, but on April 13 the CDC and FDA recommended “pausing” Johnson & Johnson vaccinations due to six reported cases of blood clotting issues in women receiving the vaccine. These issues were rare, with 6.8 million people receiving the vaccine free of complications, but ABAC still immediately made the switch to the Moderna vaccine.
Some students had reservations about receiving the vaccine, like Nigela Jones, who says she was scared to get the vaccine because of her fear of needles, and because she had done research online and read that older people had died after receiving the vaccine. This concern is understandable when many new outlets are reporting frightening statistics about 28 elderly people dying in Norway after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. However, according to the Washington Post, scientists are unable to find a link between the vaccines and those fatalities. It is currently believed that those fatalities were a product of either the patient’s age, pre-existing unrelated medical problems, or both. Jones says she decided to get it anyway because she works around a lot of people and didn’t want to worry about contracting it.
Other students, while not enthusiastic about getting vaccinated, did not seem to be concerned about possible side effects.
“I don’t like shots, but other than that no, I’m not worried about side effects or anything, I know it’s for the greater good,” says Daphne Burgess.
ABAC student John Demerlier also said, “My girlfriend’s sister has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and her thesis was on RNA, and she has no issues with any of it, so the new vaccines don’t bother me. If she was cool with it, it seemed fine with me.”
The overall consensus among the students seemed to be that they were more worried about the actual shot than the vaccine.
This sentiment seems to mimic that of the ABAC healthcare providers administering the vaccine. Health Center director Carmen Counts says she thought the overall process “went smoothly.”
In total, 86 ABAC students and employees received the vaccine.
Many ABAC students opted to receive the vaccine elsewhere though, so the real percentage of vaccinated ABAC students is most likely higher. According to NPR, in Georgia the total percentage of vaccinated citizens is still on the lower end, with 31.4% of Georgians having received one dose and only 17.3% of Georgians being fully vaccinated as of April 15th. Furthermore, the CDC reports that in Tift county 3,374 people have been vaccinated, or 8.3% of Tifton’s population.
There are still many other vaccine sites available to students younger than 18 or students that simply couldn’t make it on the 15.
There is a Southwell COVID-19 vaccination drive-through
located at the Tift Regional Community Events Center.
Students will need to make an appointment. The vaccine is free and the Pfizer vaccine (approved for 16+) is offered as well.
For more information about vaccine providers, students can visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine to find vaccination locations in Tift. county.