Some students at the University of St. Thomas are already receiving the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine is being distributed first to healthcare personnel and residents of long- term-care facilities, according to the CDC. Some UST students fall under this category, including junior nursing major Zasha Cantu, who is a caregiver for her grandfather and healthcare worker, and junior nursing major Olivia Anga, who is a frontline worker at Houston Methodist Hospital.
The two nursing students have family members who are in the high-risk category for the virus, and said they feel safer now that they are vaccinated.
“My concern with COVID was never really about me,” Anga said. “My main fear was just giving it to my parents.”
Because some people have reported allergic reactions to the vaccines studies show, recipients like Cantu said she and her 85-year-old grandfather had to wait for 15 minutes after receiving the shot.
“Every medication usually has a side effect,” Cantu said. “There’s no way a medication won’t have one, so I know that’s why a lot of people are so skeptical.”
Nonetheless, Cantu said she and her grandfather have not experienced any negative side effects besides a sore arm.
Even upon receiving the vaccine, both students have continued to follow CDC guidelines including social distancing and wearing masks in public settings.
“Even after COVID ends, if it ever ends, I’m still probably going to be wearing my mask,” Anga said.
Cantu said she is still doing everything she can to protect her family, which is why she still wears her mask at home and in her grandfather’s presence.
“I always wear a mask around my parents,” Cantu said. “[I] can be inside my house, but I will be wearing a mask in front of them.” She said she would feel awful if she somehow contracted COVID and passed it on to them.
With the latest spike of COVID-19 cases in Harris County, it is no surprise that students such as Cantu and Anga are ready for life to return to normal.
“I know things are going to be weird for a little bit,” Cantu said, “but I’m ready for our country and our community to get back on track.”
Meanwhile, getting the vaccine is the best thing students can do to help bring an end to the pandemic.
“If you guys have a chance to get the vaccine, please don’t be afraid,” Cantu said. “Please get the vaccine.”