The move to vaccinate every American became increasingly urgent as coronavirus variants emerged in states around the country. As of March 18, 22.4 percent of Californians have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 11 percent are fully vaccinated.
Gaining eligibility on March 1, Los Angeles County residents in Phase 1B Tier 1, which includes education workers, have started getting the shot — including 5C faculty and some students employed by the colleges.
Daniel Krauss, a Claremont McKenna College professor of psychology, received the Moderna vaccine as a professor and licensed mental health professional. He said he was eager to receive the shot — but finding an appointment on the county portal proved difficult.
“The internet site was a mess. You had to go to each of the 15 or 20 possible vaccination sites individually and put in all your insurance, demographic and consent information before you could find out even if they had any appointments available,” Krauss said in an email to TSL.
He eventually found an appointment at an El Sereno site, and ultimately, the trouble paid off.
“I was extremely excited to receive the vaccination. I believe that science will help us overcome this pandemic, and getting sufficient people vaccinated is one of the first steps. The side effects of the vaccination are small in comparison to the benefits of the protection it offers,” Krauss said in an email to TSL.
Cameron Stockford PZ ’23, an employee at a health care office, received the Moderna vaccine in Adelanto, California, in a process he said was uncomplicated. A student and a scientist, Stockford was passionate about the importance of the vaccine and its role in ending the pandemic.
“I do not want it to be possible that other people die because I did not get the vaccine; I would not be able to live with myself,” he said via email. “I am happy to see the number of people vaccinated each day rising, and personally, I am happy I am one of them.”
As the vaccine rollout continues, Stockford said returning to campus won’t feel comfortable until all 7C community members — not just students — can receive the vaccine.
“This, along with allowing people to stay home if they do not feel comfortable coming back yet, I believe, is the best option to get back to any relative normality, that we are all familiar with.”
One international student, Theo Longboy PZ ’23, received her doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine late February in London, England — a moment she called “really lucky.”
“I’m very happy I was able to get it,” she said. “For me personally, I know that there are benefits, but my main thing is [that] I want to try and protect the people around me. Herd immunity would be the long-term benefit, and, hopefully, we can get there.”
The increasing accessibility of the vaccine, Longboy said, makes her feel “a lot more comfortable” heading back to campus. But, considering the challenge of making vaccines accessible to all communities and understanding not everyone feels comfortable getting vaccinated, she said she doesn’t think a vaccine requirement needs to be a prerequisite in returning students to campus.
Longboy, an international student, also raised concerns about vaccine accessibility globally.
“It’s not realistic to assume that everyone would be able to get it. … But it definitely would help me feel a lot less anxiety. Even if just professors [would] all be vaccinated, or professors and immunocompromised students, that would make me feel a lot better [about returning].”
A Scripps College sophomore, who requested anonymity due to a work contract prohibiting sharing medical information, also received the Moderna dose as a vaccine distributor, and said vaccination hasn’t decreased their chief concern: community transmission.
“I have changed nothing in my lifestyle since getting it. I currently live with my family and since they are not all vaccinated and I live in a community that is not all vaccinated, I feel it would be wrong for me to live in a way that disregards the dangers I could bring to those around me,” they said to TSL via email.
The Claremont Colleges Student Health Services was approved by the State of California as a vaccination site and is currently cleared to administer vaccines, according to a Feb. 1 email from Pomona College President G. Gabrielle Starr. Though a general flu vaccination will be required for returning students per county guidelines, it remains to be seen whether any of the 7Cs will implement COVID-19 vaccine guidelines.