Monday, September 27, 2021

Guest Column: Why receiving the vaccine is important to me

April 21, 2021
A student receiving their vaccine at the Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion on April 15, 2021 in East Lansing.
A student receiving their vaccine at the Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion on April 15, 2021 in East Lansing. —
Photo by Jillian Felton | The State News

By Ri’An Jackson

Michigan State media and public information intern.

VIM Magazine director of public relations.

I received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on April 4 at the Ford Field COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Detroit.

The days leading up to the poke, I grew nervous thinking about any potential side effects — maybe I would be unfortunate enough to have a negative reaction or maybe my arm would go limp for days and affect my school work and job. But despite my worry, I knew the vaccine was safe and effective and that I needed to do my part in the fight to end COVID.

The experience was simple and painless. I was at the vaccination clinic for about 45 minutes and receiving the shot was less than one minute. My arm was sore for the next day, but it felt no different than receiving my annual flu shot. The soreness faded quickly, but the shot also armed me with optimism about the coming months, and that feeling hasn't subsided. 

In three weeks, I will return to the clinic to receive the second dose of the vaccine and become fully vaccinated. It's exciting and refreshing to hear that over 64 million Americans are fully vaccinated and that 80% of MSU students are planning to receive the vaccine. Vaccinations are the ticket to a more normal future and although I am graduating this May, I hope that other students can experience all MSU has to offer this fall. Taking advantage of MSU’s many opportunities to meet new people and explore the East Lansing community is what has made its campus feel like home to me, so I'm hopeful that other students can soon return to experiencing the campus I have known and loved for the majority of my time here. 

Receiving the vaccine was a no-brainer to me. After educating myself on what the vaccine is and what it does, I understood it was a critical turning point in the pandemic and was a safe and easy way to advocate for the health of the community. Knowing that I will soon be fully vaccinated along with millions of other people brings light to my days, and I take pride in that I am doing my part to protect myself along with my family, friends and the community against the virus. 

I'm ready to make the most of my post-grad life — to start my career, travel and become more independent. And I know I'm not alone when I say I'm ready for life to feel normal again. The COVID vaccine makes me hopeful that the end of the pandemic is near, and I’m looking forward to a future that isn’t filled with Zoom calls, social distancing and COVID-induced anxiety. I’m ready for a future that will let me and the rest of the world get back to living life and doing all the things that make us happy. 

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