Students at the university have mixed reactions after Gov. Tate Reeves announced that the state would begin to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to all residents ages 16 and older.
“To be honest, I don’t know if it will affect things too heavily,” senior English major Allison Clayton said.
According to the MSDH, nearly 23,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Lafayette County.
With the mask mandate in Oxford ending and more businesses including bars and restaurants operating at full capacity, some students at the university seem eager to have life back to normal now that they are eligible for the vaccine.
As Gov. Reeves encourages Mississippi residents to get vaccinated, the university has made an effort to make the vaccine available to staff, faculty and student workers, as they recently activated a vaccination site on campus at the Tad Smith Coliseum.
AJ Norwood, a sophomore journalism major, said he is ready to take the vaccine and will do whatever is necessary on his part to help end the pandemic quickly.
“I’m ready to get out of this pandemic, and whatever it takes to get out of the pandemic, if it’s for the greater good for the people in our community, then I’m all for it,” Norwood said.
However, not all students feel the need to get vaccinated. Freshman biology major Caroline Karschner said that she does not plan to get vaccinated because she has already had COVID-19 twice. Another two students who refused to give their names agreed and said they will not be getting the vaccine, regardless of the effects it could have on the university’s plan to open completely in person in fall 2021.
“Just because some people are getting vaccinated doesn’t mean everyone is getting vaccinated,” freshman linguistics major Feagin Hardy said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is still possible for a person to carry and spread COVID-19 after they are fully vaccinated. The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people still take precautions in public spaces, like wearing masks, staying six feet apart from others and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
Many students are concerned for their safety and the university’s plan to reopen in the fall, but Hardy feels confident that following protocol and getting the vaccine before the upcoming semester can lead to a successful reopening of campus in fall 2021.
Freshman business major Olivia Reeves just received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on campus as a student worker.
“Knowing that I, personally, am safe means there’s one less thing to worry about. Now, it’s about protecting others around me,” Reeves said.
She, among many other students, hopes to see more of the student body getting the vaccine before next semester begins.
“Regardless of what happens, I want campus to be an environment where everyone feels comfortable,” Reeves said. “I’m hoping that people do take initiative and they get vaccinated and create an environment that is comfortable and safe for everyone.”