Ramapo students comment on their vaccine experiences

Photo courtesy of Joshua Hoehne, Unsplash

New Jersey state officials announced on Monday, April 19 that COVID-19 vaccines will now be available to anyone age 16 and over who lives, works or studies in the state. 

With the increasing availability of COVID-19 vaccines, Ramapo College students have been staying involved with monitoring access and getting in line for their vaccinations. Several students have already received their full dose of the vaccine and are eager to share their experiences. 

“I got my first dose of Moderna in late March, and I was super excited before and after I got the vaccine,” first-year student Allison Contreras-Ortiz said. “I didn’t have symptoms after my first dose, but I did feel fatigued.”

She shared that “the painful part” of the experience was the process of obtaining an appointment to receive the vaccine, as it took her a month to find an open spot. 

Other students shared similar scheduling difficulties. Junior Jenna Craig shared that her whole family, who struggle with asthma, were not able to find appointments. Luckily, a family friend of hers “ended up making small talk with an administrator” revealing their struggles.

"The next thing I knew, the administrator was calling my dad and we had an appointment a few days later," she said. "We got really lucky.”

Craig commented on her personal physical experiences post-vaccination.

“I felt 100% fine after Pfizer dose one. For dose two, I had a very sore arm and I felt sick, like I had the flu, for a whole day,” she said.

“I was just laying on the sofa and my body hurt. Fever of about 100.8, and chills and hot flashes sorta back and forth. I took a ton of naps that day,” Craig continued. “But thank goodness my professors were understanding. Sleeping it off helped the most.”

Junior Aaron Acevedo shared that he had a similar experience with his Pfizer vaccination; however, securing an appointment was fairly easy for him and his family, a bit different from Craig and other students’ experiences. 

“I got the first shot in early April,” he said. “Both shots weren’t that bad for me personally. The only side effect I felt was soreness in the arm I got the shot in, and that happened after both shots. In both instances, the soreness only lasted for a little over a day, so it wasn’t unbearable.”

Since receiving both of his shots, he has noticeably felt safer, but not 100%, at least not yet.   

“Things are starting to become safe again with these vaccines, and I might feel comfortable enough to do things like going to the movies soon,” Acevedo said. “But until more people get fully vaccinated and overall cases go down, I still think it necessary for everyone to exercise caution around others, regardless of vaccination status.”

Even with the recent halt of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, sophomore Jayne Ryan still shared that she was “so glad to have gotten it.” However, she was very sick for three days after receiving the one-dose vaccine. 

Many students expressed the difficulty they had waiting to get an appointment for a vaccine. As the increase in availability becomes more accessible, they are hopeful that it will become easier to get the vaccine. They encourage fellow students to receive their vaccinations as soon as they can. 

“We’re almost at the end of this extremely difficult time in history,” Acevedo said. “But to do that, we gotta listen to science, still wear our masks and get vaccinated.”