By Kaleb Vining
Some international students could get last-minute vaccinations on March 17 rather than waiting until April 6 to get them with the majority of college students.
Faculty and staff members were signed up for the March 17 vaccinations, but many of them could get one from their local pharmacies beforehand.
This led to many cancellations and extra doses being available for students. However, international students were the priority at the time due to some airlines requiring vaccination cards to board a plane.
Kaydee Riggs-Johnson, vice president of communication, said that she had asked the Cowley County Health Department if they should utilize the extra doses for the community but suggested starting vaccinating the international student.
The health department also recommended vaccinating some student ambassadors and student teachers due to the amount of contact they have with other individuals.
“Those were the student groups that we chose, and they were pretty strategic, and we put a lot of thought behind it because we didn’t want it to be unfair,” said Riggs-Johnson.
The decision to vaccinate a specific group earlier than other students was made easier since the health department reassured the college that there would be another opportunity for the remainder of students to get their vaccinations.
However, most international students have plans for travel once the semester is over, which puts them as the top priority.
The students were contacted by Riggs-Johnson and Elyse Achenbach, coordinator of international student services and enrollment.
The students were very receptive to getting the vaccine, and most of the ones who were contacted jumped at the opportunity to get vaccinated.
Jesus Flores, a junior psychology major, said that his parents suggested that he get vaccinated if given the opportunity. Flores did just that.
“Since I am going back home, I would need to quarantine, and that would be hard to do because I am close with my family, and we all live together,” said Flores.
Flores’ father works for the Consulate General of the United States of America in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and was able to get the vaccine as well.
Fabio Schneider, sophomore business major, was another international student who could get vaccinated earlier than most.
Schneider said that he was shocked when he was contacted about getting the vaccine early.
“I didn’t really know what the system was for who gets it first, so I was pretty surprised when I heard I could get the vaccine early,” said Schneider.
Schneider immediately scheduled his appointment when he got the news, and just like Flores, his parents supported him fully with his decision.
Similar to Flores, Schneider’s mother was able to get the vaccine as well due in part to working as a nurse. However, his father, who works as an office salesman, is still waiting for his chance to get vaccinated.
Both Flores and Schneider had heard about the side effects that may occur after getting vaccinated, but neither student was deterred from the process.
“Surprisingly, I didn’t have any concerns. I heard that there were side effects, but I am happy to say that I didn’t have any even after both doses,” said Schneider.
Flores said that his experience was a little different than Schneider’s.
“After getting the vaccine, I had a small cold for a few days, but I did not rest well the night before, so I think that was the issue,” said Flores.
Schneider and Flores both said that they were grateful for the people involved in the vaccination process and praised the college on how easy they made this experience.