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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies share vaccination testimonials

Photo by Photo by Abbey Santoro
Vaccine rollout

With the current expansion of COVID-19 vaccine rollout, many students have been immunized to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
After receiving their vaccines, Texas A&M students said their experiences ranged from no side effects to some feeling ill after receiving the shot. Below, students share their immunization stories from all three vaccines currently available in the United States, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, as they become available to all adults in Texas at the end of the month.
Brinna Gallego-Ybarra
Following Gov. Greg Abbott’s lift of the mask mandate on March 10, many students such as English senior Brinna Gallego-Ybarra said they feel it is now more important for people to get the vaccine than ever before, as the lifting of the mandate adds a greater risk of exposure within the community.
Gallego-Ybarra said she had a unique experience while getting her Moderna vaccine, as she tested positive for COVID-19 the same day she received her first dose.
“I think the one thing people need to know is that the vaccine does not contain the actual virus. I tested positive after receiving the vaccine because I had been exposed a few days before but thought I was in the clear because I had tested negative twice before that,” Gallego-Ybarra said. “I did not get COVID[-19] because of the vaccine. The vaccine contains different ingredients, but the [live] virus is not one.”
After her first dose, Gallego-Ybarra said her arm became sore and she developed a minor headache within an hour. She had other symptoms, but she said she believes they were caused by the virus itself rather than the vaccine because she had them for eight consecutive days.
“I’ve never been so sick in my life, but I actually think getting the vaccine allowed me to not get even more sick with my asthma,” Gallego-Ybarra said. “Still to this day I have breathing issues and develop random migraines, so I urge people to get vaccinated because COVID[-19] is cruel, but the side effects are just as cruel, too.”
Kristen Jones
Communication junior Kristen Jones made multiple YouTube videos about her experience after receiving the Moderna shot to share her vaccination experience.
“YouTube is a platform that provides me with the unique opportunity to have a voice, and I hadn’t seen anyone I knew get the vaccine yet,” Jones said. “I felt like documenting the process on YouTube would allow me to reach a widespread audience to share my unique and raw experience while also informing my peers.”
In the videos, she covers the side effects she experienced and answers questions from her followers. Jones said the first shot had fewer side effects than the second dose.
“I felt like my back was being stabbed, literally it hurt so bad,” Jones said in one of the videos. “It didn’t affect me until the next day when I was watching church with my family.”
Paige Eley
Allied health senior Paige Eley works in an emergency room and was offered the Pfizer vaccine through her job when essential healthcare workers were prioritized early on to help keep those practicing medicine safe.
“I had no side effects after the first dose,” Eley said. “After the second [dose] I had fever, chills and headache for less than one day and was totally fine after.”
Eley said though it is less common for college-age people to be admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, it is still something she has seen throughout the last year.
“One important thing to note is that young and healthy people can still get very sick from COVID[-19],” Eley said. “I think the vaccine is still important to get even if you aren’t worried about being sick, even if you’ve had COVID[-19] before. We aren’t sure how long immunity lasts, so you should still get the vaccine even if you’ve already had COVID[-19].”
Lindsay Malik
Health senior Lindsay Malik received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after registering at the A.P. Beutel Health Center on campus. Malik said she initially felt fine after she received the first shot, though later that night she started experiencing a variety of symptoms.
“My entire body was aching, if someone touched me it felt like needles were stabbing into my skin, and I was running a fever and woke up almost every hour of the night,” Malik said. “I really just layed in bed and I took Tylenol Cold and Flu, which helped a lot. The symptoms lasted for about 24 hours, and after that I was back to normal.”
Malik said it is important to get vaccinated because herd immunity is not possible without enough people getting the shot. She also said she recommends students get their shots on a Friday so they have the weekend to recover.
“Despite my symptoms and side effects that I had, I still would do it again,” Malik said. “In the end I am protecting myself, and I am also protecting those around me like my Grandpa and my family and friends.”
Paige Brown
Business senior Paige Brown got the Moderna vaccine in her home county when she saw they were opening eligibility to everyone in the area. Brown said the day that she received the vaccine she was fine, but the following day she ran a slight fever and felt off.
“The main reason [I got the vaccine] is so I could see my family again and not feel weird about it. With living in a college town, when I would come, I did not want to get anyone in my family sick,” Brown said. “I would much rather get a vaccine and endure a day of discomfort in order to trade that for peace of mind.”
Brown said getting the vaccine was important to her because she wanted to keep those around her safe, including her grandparents who canceled Thanksgiving and Christmas plans to make sure no one got sick from large gatherings. When it comes to getting the vaccine, Brown said she encourages others to follow in her footsteps to ensure the safety of all.
“Do it, especially because [being] college students does not mean we are not around people that are at risk,” Brown said. “For me, if something is easy, free and will help others, there is no reason not to do it.”
Marina Garcia
Journalism senior and residential advisor Marina Garcia got her first dose of the Moderna vaccine because it was offered to RAs on campus. Garcia said she received a helpful vaccine fact sheet from Beutel when she received her shot.
“As of right now my arm is just sore, which is how you would normally feel when you get a shot, so it’s nothing crazy,” Garcia said. “I asked the lady who was administering it what some of the side effects were, and they just said that normally the second dose is when you might get flu-like symptoms but nothing severe.”
Garcia said she has had many friends reach out to her after she received the vaccine. She believes it is important to share experiences with those who have not yet been innoculated.
“I know there are so many unknown factors, but read up on it and know what exactly you are signing up for,” Garcia said. “I think that it is important because college towns are huge hotspots for COVID[-19] and a lot of people aren’t being exactly safe with COVID[-19] and trying to prevent the spread. The more [people] that we have vaccinated can help decrease those numbers and potentially save lives.”
Editor’s Note: Marina Garcia is a former news writer for The Battalion.

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