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UTK’S Distribution Of Vaccines: How Do Students Feel About It?

WRITTEN BY Emma Coffey

The University of Tennessee recently joined the statewide effort to vaccinate Tennessee residents. The university is now encouraging all students and faculty to receive a coronavirus vaccine as Knox County has opened eligibility to anyone ages 16 and older. 

There are a variety of locations that are providing vaccinations in Knox County, but the university itself is offering the vaccine to those who are 18 and older at the Student Health Center. 

UTK is offering the two-dose Moderna vaccine, as well as the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, which is currently paused for use by the FDA and CDC due to potential blood clot issues. 

After the university announced that appointments were available for students and staff, the initial appointment dates filled up quickly. Currently, over 10,000 students and faculty have been vaccinated by the university. This data shows that the university making vaccines easily accessible is working in everyone’s favor. 

Many students are wanting the vaccine either for their own health and for their families’ and friends’ health. 

Freshman finance major Josh Stubblefield shared his reasoning on why he chose to receive the vaccine.

“I chose to get the vaccine to allow my family and I to travel again. We have not seen our family in Texas in a long time. Now that I have the vaccine, I can go see my grandma and family, and they can come here,” Stubblefield said.

In a survey conducted amongst 50 UTK students, 70% said that they already received or are going to receive the vaccine so the pandemic can be over soon. If many students and staff receive the vaccine, the upcoming fall semester could be a more normal experience than the 2020-2021 school year. 

However, some students are still deciding on if they want the vaccine at all.

Sophomore psychology major Hallie Edwards explained why she is holding off on her decision to get the vaccine.

“I am not opposed to receiving the vaccine because I want life to go back to normal and also protect my family and loved ones. Some of my family members have received the vaccine, but I have chosen not to yet. I want to wait a little longer and make sure that it is right for my own health before getting it,” Edwards said. 

If you are still deciding on getting one of the COVID-19 vaccinations, make sure to do your own research and do what is best for you. It is very easy to make an appointment through the university or public clinics near campus. 

With more and more faculty and students receiving the vaccination, the university can attain herd immunity and it is possible that campus will be closer to normal in the fall.