Elizabeth Sharp | Staff Writer
As COVID-19 vaccination rollout continues across the country, some Duquesne students have already been able to receive the vaccine.
Duquesne has recently begun distributing vaccines on campus, and students and faculty look forward to the opportunity of becoming eligible in coming weeks. In a March 29 Duquesne University Official Communication, plans to begin vaccinations for those who qualify for 1A status.
“We will begin with Phase 1A, prioritizing health care personnel — including student learners — and individuals over 65 years of age. Individuals between the ages of 16-64 with underlying conditions will be prioritized next.”
The statement also said that this is a “multi-phased” approach, indicating that they will follow suit with state and local health departments in continuing to administer vaccines once all other phases are eligible.
“The university is doing everything possible to make vaccinations available. The supply allocated to Duquesne will likely occur in waves over the course of several weeks,” the statement continued.
On April 5, all Pennsylvanians (including students who attend school in PA) in the 1B category became eligible to register for a vaccine appointment. According to the Pennsylvania Health Department, phase 1C will become eligible on April 12, and all other residents will be eligible on April 19.
Sign-ups are available through the Pennsylvania Health Department website, as well as through individual distributors such as Giant Eagle, CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Duquesne’s SONA system and local hospitals/primary care providers.
Vaccines are free for all who wish to receive them, regardless of insurance status, but distribution sites are likely to ask for insurance information if the vaccine recipient has it.
Many students in the medical field have received their vaccines, and have viewed the life-saving shot as a way to continue their studies in real world settings. As the vaccinated population continues to grow, the impact that getting vaccinated has on people’s lives grows with it.
Freshman nursing student Paige Glasgow is fully vaccinated.
“Getting the vaccine has impacted my life in multiple ways, even though it has only been a few months. I no longer have to worry about getting the virus, nor giving it to anyone else,” Glasgow said.
As nursing students continue their studies, many will have to participate in clinicals — on-site hospital training — to complete their studies. Getting vaccinated will help them get back to work as soon as possible in order to continue their studies.
“It will be so helpful during my sophomore year when I begin clinicals for nursing school, so I can protect both myself and patients alike,” Glasgow said.
Maria Kamarados, a freshman nursing student, has also received her first vaccination.
“Getting the COVID-19 vaccination was very important to me,” Kamarados said. “Just like all other vaccinations in the world, it is not 100% effective; however, it will help return society to a place where a significant amount of people shouldn’t die unnecessarily from a disease that can be prevented.”
As both Glasgow and Kamarados continue their work in the medical field, they hope to encourage others to help ensure a safe environment for when they can get back to work.
“As a future nurse, getting the vaccine will allow me to be safer in the medical field and be able to help those that may be ill, not only from COVID-19, but other contagious diseases. It also will allow my patients to feel comfortable around me because I am vaccinated,” Kamarados said.
Keeping patients safe is a top priority for both Glasgow and Kamarados as they hope to get back to work soon. In the field of nursing, students put high priority on their patients’ health and safety, especially during their clinicals.
On a more personal level, Glasgow and Kamarados hope to see family members again, as do many other people eager to get the vaccine.
“Not only will this vaccination help me as a nurse, but it will allow me to start seeing my more elderly family members in a way I haven’t been able to since the beginning of this pandemic,” Kamarados said.
As vaccination rollout progresses, Duquesne is starting to see hope for the upcoming fall 2021 semester. The school is moving forward with a plan to reopen for in-person classes in the fall as significant progress is made in vaccination distribution to students and faculty. A full on-campus learning environment and regular student life is the hope for fall. While the university continues to see an increase in vaccination rates and a current decline in infections and hospitalizations, optimism for the fall semester rises.
“We are one step closer to getting back to a somewhat normal life again, and I encourage everyone to get vaccinated and stay safe,” Glasgow said.