If someone asked for a fun fact about me two years ago, it would be that I have a twin sister, Taylor, and our birthday is July 4. Today, my fun fact is that all three of my vaccines came from different states. Each time I needed the vaccine, I have been at different stages and places in life.
IU's Jan. 6 COVID-19 dashboard update indicates only 94.9% of IU Bloomington faculty, staff and students are partially or fully vaccinated. This leaves the other 5.1% who have either not reported or remain unvaccinated. Part of the 94.9% could also be partially vaccinated, meaning they received only one shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
The vaccine proved effective at mitigating the spread and severity of COVID-19. People must do a better job at getting vaccinated. IU must do a better job at reporting vaccination data. The number of people discreet about vaccination status is unacceptable. Everyone at IU should receive the vaccine as a choice, leading to a healthier Bloomington community.
My family will tell you I would never be the first in my family to receive the vaccine. As a child, I would scream when the nurse came in with needles. To this day, I hate the idea of a needle going into my arm. Yet, I chose to get vaccinated for others.
Last February when I was a student at Fordham University Rose Hill, I qualified early for the vaccine in New York City due to close proximity with children as a high school sailing coach.
I will admit traveling through the Bronx alone during a pandemic to receive a vaccination did not sound appealing.
I rationalized my fears, acknowledged my privilege and took the subway to New York City Health + Hospital's Lincoln Medical Center. The long line spanned many streets. I stood in line for over three hours before I reached the paperwork and qualification checkpoint.
Before I blinked another eye, "John H., we are ready for you," the vaccine administrator said.
I suffered mild side effects from the Pfizer vaccine. Within a month, I returned home and got my second dose at a local Walgreens in Illinois. By mid-March, I was fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine. After clearance for a booster shot, I received a Moderna booster with no reactions other than a day of the much dreaded sore and red "COVID arm."
It is not hypocritical of me to say that if you choose to not receive any COVID-19 vaccination, you are being selfish and disrespectful to your peers and colleagues. This pandemic has become nothing other than a battle with the unvaccinated as President Joe Biden addressed in September 2021.
Getting COVID-19 will cause removal of myself from the community for five days. The reason I have to isolate is because people fall severely ill when unvaccinated, according to a White House COVID-19 Teleconference on January 5.
In this conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci, among other top infectious disease experts, indicated vaccinated individuals suffer far less than those unvaccinated. He proved this through providing data from South Africa, the United Kingdom and Canada.
People often specify they cannot receive the vaccine due to religious obligations. Many universities nationwide, IU included, introduced religious exemptions as an excuse to not receive the vaccine.
IU has published three additional terms for exemptions: medical exemptions with documentation, medical deferrals (for those who are immunocompromised with specified conditions) and those in 100% online programs.
The religious exemption is the most suspicious. No prominent U.S. religion opposes vaccines at its core belief, according to CBS News. The reporting shows how major religions leave this decision up to the individual.
If IU requires proof of booster vaccinations, before you consider filing for a religious exemption, or consider lying to campus officials regarding your vaccination status, think about the entire Bloomington community.
To those unvaccinated, please get vaccinated. You can find appointments here.
John Hultquist (he/him) is a junior studying community health with a double minor in urban planning and community development and nutrition.