BJC Vaccination Site, Waiting Area

People waiting to leave after receiving the coronavirus vaccine on Monday, March 15, 2021, in the Bryce Jordan Center, in University Park, Pa.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently approved booster shots for all three coronavirus vaccines.

For Penn State students, many said they believe the approval is positive, and Caden Vitti said it’s important to ensure the booster shots are being enforced.

“I’m planning to get mine whenever my [age] group is ready,” Vitti (sophomore-energy engineering) said.

Currently, anyone over age 18 who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine can get a booster, and anyone over age 65, as well as those over age 18 who live in long-term care settings, have underlying medical conditions or work or live in high risk settings who received the Moderna and Pfizer can get boosters.

Ashley Pechin said she believes the boosters shots are important because of her family members working in health care.

“[My mom] is in close contact with the people in the [coronary care unit], and they’re… really sick with COVID, so she’s a big supporter of the vaccine,” Pechin (freshmen-advertising) said. “If she supports it because she sees what people are going through on a daily basis… then I would probably be open to getting the vaccine booster shot.”

She also compared it to other vaccines students are required to receive prior to living on campus.

“I don't really think it’s that much worse than that meningitis shot that we all had to get to come to college — that one was so much more pain in the arm,” Pechin said.

Penn State currently requires students to be vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella, as well as meningitis for students living on campus.

Carly Andrews’ mother works in pharmaceuticals, so she said she believes booster shots are beneficial.

“When the vaccine was first allowed to kids, we kind of jumped on that,” Andrews (freshman-biobehavioral health) said. “I personally agree with the vaccine and think that everyone should get it.”

On the other hand, Avery Valentim would not have gotten her initial dosage if it weren’t for Penn State.

“I personally don’t think Penn State should require booster shots because I think if you are already fully vaccinated, then it’s already in your body,” Valentim (freshmen-biobehavioral health) said.

Penn State’s policies, such as weekly coronavirus testing for those who remain unvaccinated, made the vaccine “pretty much mandatory” this fall, she said.

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Jomari Dodd expressed a similar view regarding how necessary a third shot would be.

“It’s either the vaccine is ineffective or the booster shot is unnecessary,” Dodd (senior-mechanical engineering) said.

Moreover, Alejandro Toro said he believes incentives from the university would convince people who are “on the fence” with the first round of the vaccine to get one more.

“For the first round, people said, ‘OK it’s just two shots, everyone is getting it,’ but now it’s pushing it even further saying, ‘You already got those, but you need more,’” Toro (sophomore-material sciences and engineering) said.

However, Vitti said he believes disseminating more information could be the way to persuade students into receiving another dose.

“They did a good job on educating students on the first vaccine… I think that definitely will create an increase in people who want to get booster shots — more education will lead to more boosters,” Vitti said.

Some students admitted they don’t know much about the various vaccines currently, and Rakeb Hailemariam said she originally thought the first two doses were effective.

“I would say that should be enough, but again, I don’t really know much about it, but I would just give it to the professionals,” Hailemariam (freshman-psychology) said.

Micah Neverson said a lack of information has kept him from being “on board.”

“I don’t know what research has been done surrounding the third booster shot and how it affects people,” Neverson (junior-electrical engineering) said. “Once more information comes about about the booster shot… I might change my mind.”

Hanna Gebremichael said the information students receive will have a great impact on whether they receive the shot.

“People who don’t really know the science… who took the vaccine but were pretty hesitant in general and only took it because everyone was imposing it on them are going to be less likely to take the booster,” Gebremichael (freshmen-biomedical engineering) said.

Above all else, Vitti encouraged Penn Staters to receive a booster shot when they become available to students.

“Go get vaccinated.”

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