As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available to the public, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center nursing students recently finished getting their second doses.

Sydney Box, a senior Tech HSC nursing student from Dallas, said she got her first dose of the vaccine on Jan. 12 and her second dose on Feb. 9.

To receive the vaccine, Box said she got an email from the Office of Institutional Health at the Health Sciences Center offering her the vaccine and instructions to sign up for an appointment. She had to fill out a consent form, and after receiving her shots, she had to wait 15 minutes to ensure she did not react to the vaccine.

“I was a little bit [nervous] just because, you know, I tried to find as much research as I could on it, but there wasn’t a whole lot out there,” Box said.

She wanted to get the vaccine because she comes into direct contact with patients as a nursing student and a nursing aide at a hospital, Box said.

“I feel like I kind of had a duty just to not only protect myself but also take into account the safety of my patients,” Box said. “If there’s something that I can do to help protect them from getting the virus or me passing it on then that was something I definitely wanted to do.”

The symptoms Box experienced from her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine included soreness in her arm and body aches, she said. After her second dose, she had a fever and some flu-like symptoms, which have since gone away.

Morgan Kriska, a senior Tech HSC nursing student from Plano, said she received her first dose on Dec. 30, 2020 and her second dose on Feb. 2.

“I was scared, but I knew it was the right thing to do, especially because I am really close with my grandparents,” Kriska said.

Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine helps her get one step closer to being able to spend time with her grandparents again, Kriska said.

Although she was nervous, she said she knew the vaccine would be safe because she was taught about the importance of vaccines in school.

“Knowing that me getting and advocating for, like, keeping those populations safe is really one reason why I'm wanting to get it,” Kriska said.

By receiving the vaccine, Kriska said she feels like she is doing her part as a citizen to keep others healthy.

Even though she has the vaccine, her life is very similar to how it was before being vaccinated, she said. She still wears masks when she goes out in public and remains socially distant from others.

Kriska said she experienced arm soreness after her first dose. To try to prevent herself from having a sore arm for her second dose, she took Tylenol beforehand, so her arm was not as sore as it was the first time.

Kelly Cavasoz, a senior Tech HSC nursing student from Houston, said she finished getting her doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 9. She hopes the vaccine will help protect her and protect the people around her.

“I figured, I’m a nursing student, I might as well do it,” Cavasoz said. “If I’m going to be starting clinicals, I want some sort of protection.”

After both doses of the vaccine, Cavasoz experienced some chills and tiredness, she said.

While having the vaccine at an early stage with not everyone having the vaccine can feel selfish, Cavasoz said she can convince other people to get the vaccine.

“You can encourage other people to take it because you’re fine,” Cavasoz said. “Me getting [the vaccine] has inspired my parents to want to do it.”

Reagan Clark, a senior Tech HSC nursing student from Spring, said she has only gotten one dose of the vaccine but has plans to receive the second dose.

Getting the first dose of the vaccine was worth the mild arm soreness she experienced, she said.

“You have to go through a few days of, you know, mild side effects, or possibly weeks of COVID symptoms,” Clark said.

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