Our Experience with The Covid Vaccines

Q & A


Courtesy of Unsplash

Demetria Slyt and Claire Weltz

Over the course of this past year there has been a lot of progress with the development of the Covid vaccine. As of March 2021, the vaccines are available to the public after months of waiting, and a lot sooner than we had all imagined. Thousands of people are being vaccinated each day and herd immunity has become the hot topic of discussion. What is herd immunity? It is the idea that the more people getting vaccinated means it is less likely for the disease to spread to those of us who are not, thus protecting our communities. There are many people hesitant to get any of the vaccines, as well as some who have outright denied it due to the lack of testing and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval. Obviously, these concerns are warranted with everything that has happened in the past year. Recently, the pause on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has many people on edge. A majority of Dakota Student staff have recently received the vaccine and we thought it would be a good opportunity to get a few different perspectives on the matter.  



Q: How do you feel about the progress of the vaccine?  

Demi: The progress with the vaccine is remarkable! I never imagined we would have it in such little time. Like many other people, I thought we would have had it by the fall of 2021 or even longer. There were so many unknowns presented to each of us in the past year, this wasn’t any different. However, I am somewhat skeptical that we may have rushed into it in the race to develop the vaccine. We have not fully tested it, we do not know the long term affects, and we do not know how people’s immune systems will react.  

Claire: You know, a lot of people have voiced concerns about how quickly the vaccines were developed, but that hasn’t been a worry for me. Times of crisis often speed up bureaucratic systems, so the funding, testing, and research of the vaccine was streamlined. I read this awesome New York Times profile on Dr. Kariko and her involvement in developing mRNA technology. It really brought some perspective to how this has been in the works for years and is being applied to a current problem. It’s honestly encouraging seeing how fast people can unite to problem solve to help others. 

Q: Which vaccine have you been given, and what made you decide to get vaccinated? 

Demi: I received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, right before it was put on pause across the US. It was not my original intent to get the J & J vaccine. I scheduled through Altru’s MyChart app and was not given any information about what vaccine I would receive upon getting to my appointment. When I learned the vaccine they were distributing I did not plan on just leaving, as it had taken a while to get an appointment with my schedule. I did not want to pass up the opportunity. 

Claire: I chose to get the Pfizer vaccine. From what I had researched about the J&J vaccine (prior to its callback), it wasn’t as effective as Pfizer/Moderna. However, the J&J vaccine was tested while variants were cropping up while Pfizer/Moderna did their testing earlier. I called the COVID hotline to schedule my appointment, also at the Alerus, but I specified that I wanted the Pfizer vaccine, not J&J. The woman who scheduled me was super helpful and made sure to include a note in my chart to double-confirm I wanted Pfizer.  

Q: J&J is being halted. Did this change your view on getting vaccination? 

Demi: As I mentioned, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was put on hold immediately following the days I had first received it. As you might imagine, I am very anxious due to this new development. I am currently on day number nine, post-vac, and I have been monitoring myself for any sign of blood-clot symptoms. So far, I have not noticed anything outwardly concerning. The only symptoms I experienced after the vaccine was soreness at the injection site for a few days, as well as a fever and chills the night of- and a mild headache throughout the next day. I understand that the chances of getting a blood-clot are very rare in these circumstances and only 1 in a million have experienced this symptom. I will continue to monitor myself over the next week and contact my doctor if any issues arise. 

Claire: No, I think the CDC recommendation to halt J&J distribution is actually encouraging. They said they would regulate the vaccine and protect the general public by monitoring side effects(Not to mention that the chances of blood-clots are higher for so many other medical treatments and prescriptions that we use every day.) By keeping true to their word, I honestly feel better about the vaccination process in the United States. However, it is slightly concerning for how the media is reporting the J&J stoppage since J&J would most likely be used in other countries that don’t have the infrastructure for distribution. Since it’s one dose and doesn’t require the extreme temperature storage, it’s ideal for remote communities globally.  

Q: How can we respect people’s choice regarding vaccination while still protecting the community as a whole? 

Demi: I think that there is a lot of misinformation around the vaccine in general, and a good deal of skepticism too, and the concern is validHowever, I think it is important to investigate these matters and educate yourself on the different vaccines that are being offered. You have the right to do whatever you think is best regarding your own well-being. 

Claire: I’ve come to the conclusion that it isn’t my business if someone is or isn’t vaccinated. However, it does impact me if people aren’t social distancing, practicing good hygiene, etc. I understand the desire to “return to normal,” but that wish isn’t currently the reality we live in. I’m not going to judge anyone for their decision to be or not be vaccinated, but I will call you out for not conscientious of the health and well-being of others. Until we reach higher levels of community vaccinations on whatever timeline that may bekeep up the good habits for the sake of others. Not wanting to be vaccinated is not a pass to live life as normal. Neither is being vaccinated, for that matter. 

Q: The mask mandate continues across campus but has ended in North Dakota, will you be wearing your mask in the community? 

Demi: I will still be wearing a mask in my community and in others. It is my responsibility to those around me to prevent further spread of the virus. I know several people with medical conditions or immune system deficiencies, especially in my own family. If I do not wear a mask I put them at risk, even if I am vaccinated.  

Claire: Absolutely. Wearing a mask models good hygiene practices for the entire community and takes extra precaution for those are at risk or do not wish to be vaccinated. I was at the grocery store the other day and physically cringed as I touched the produce. Prior to the pandemic, I hadn’t thought about how often I touch things while in public. If we can continue healthy habits, we can minimize sickness in general. That includes wearing masks.  

Q: How can we prevent misinformation from spreading?  

Demi: To do this I think we need to make sure we have the correct information ourselves before we relay it unto others in our community.  

Claire: Let’s start by not referring to TikToks as a main source of information. Believe me, I waste as much time on TikTok as the next person, but do not assume anything on the app is true in regard to healthcare. (Don’t get me started on the chlorophyl drops trend…) Also, I assumed everyone did this, but please, please, please read an article before you share it with others. We all hate clickbait, so just because a headline looks promising and/or agrees with your opinion on vaccination, at least read it before sharing. The amount of media regarding vaccination is astounding and somewhat overwhelming. You don’t need to be an expert, but having an informed opinion is crucial. 


Demetria Slyt is a Dakota Student Opinion Writer. She can be reached at [email protected] 

Claire Weltz is a Dakota Student Opinion Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]