Students weigh in on COVID vaccine

Anyone who has seen the 2007 Will Smith film “I Am Legend” might believe the COVID-19 vaccine could turn humans into zombies, ultimately leading to an apocalypse. Fortunately for all, that has not been the case.

Although a worldwide pandemic fits the end-of-the-world movie trope, the COVID-19 vaccine has yet to cause the extinction of the human race, and those that have received the vaccine are just as lively — with zero cravings for brains — as they were before.

Two undergraduate students at Minnesota State University, Mankato who have received the vaccine attest to that as they share their experiences with it.

“I feel incredible,” says MNSU senior Grace Mullenbach about being vaccinated.

MNSU sophomore Mallory Steinmetz agrees by saying, “I feel great.”

Mullenbach was offered the vaccine through her internship at a healthcare facility. Staff members were eligible to get the vaccine if they wanted it and, according to Mullenbach, she did.

“I wanted to protect myself and the people around me,” she begins. “I work for an individual who is high risk, and I haven’t been able to see my family members who are high risk, so I was ready to get it over with.”

Mullenbach received the first dosage of Moderna on Feb. 3 and the second dosage on Feb. 24. A Walgreens pharmacist came to her place of internship and administered both shots.

Upon receiving the first dosage, Mullenbach says she experienced extreme arm soreness on the arm where the shot was given, accompanied by a severe headache and nausea the following day. 

The second dosage, according to Mullenbach, was not as bad. 

“I only noticed a migraine for the next day and a half and very little arm soreness,” she says.

Regardless of the symptoms she experienced from the initial shots, Mullenbach says the end result was worth the temporary struggle. 

“I’m so excited to have taken a step to end the restrictions and different rules that seem to be changing so often,” she says.

Like Mullenbach, Steinmetz says she believes the vaccine will help reduce the restrictions and she is thankful she was able to get it herself.

“I wanted to help protect those around me and hopefully get a sense of normalcy back in society,” she says.

Steinmetz, a Certified Nursing Assistant at Laurels Edge Assisted Living, was offered the vaccine through her place of work.

She says she gladly accepted and received the first dosage of Moderna on Jan. 13 and the second dosage on Feb. 10. Like Mullenbach, a Walgreens pharmacist administered both shots for Steinmetz.

The symptoms from the first dosage did not appear until five days later. 

“I thought I had a bug bite,” she begins. “I soon realized that it was right where I had gotten my first dose and it was all red, inflamed and itchy around the site.”

The symptoms from the second dosage took a heavier toll on Steinmetz, who says, “It was the worst I have felt in a long time.”

The symptoms—which consisted of chest tightness, an ongoing fever, chills, and overall muscle weakness—appeared eight hours after she received the second dosage and lasted for about 18 hours total.

Despite the pain she endured from the initial shots, Steinmetz says, “The vaccine is still worth getting and I recommend others to get it too.”

Mullenbach offers the same encouragement but she says she recognizes why some may be wary about getting the vaccine. 

“I understand the critiques and being skeptical of getting vaccinated,” she begins. “I don’t think it’s a bad idea to weigh the pros and cons, especially since it is such new territory for medical professionals and scientists.”

However, according to Mullenbach, she would still recommend getting the vaccine because she believes that there are more pros than cons regarding it at the end of the day.

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