COVID-19 Vaccine: Information you need to know

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Rebekah Hedeen, Features Editor

With COVID-19 emerging from a second peak, Utica College’s students face many uncertainties. To ease the unknown, information regarding vaccine sites, eligibility, side effects and personal encounters have been provided. 

There are four steps to obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine according to New York State guidelines:

  • Step 1: Determine eligibility and schedule an appointment
  • Step 2: Complete vaccine form
  • Step 3: Bring proof of eligibility to your appointment
  • Step 4: Your second dose appointment will be scheduled automatically when you receive your first vaccine dose.

In order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, students and faculty must follow the above steps. The steps are only for obtaining vaccine eligibility and scheduling appointments, it does not include information regarding testing sites.

“One of those reasons is because I have been volunteering to help with pool testing students, but under the newly revised NYS guidelines, in-person college instructors are also now eligible, too,” Doug Croft, director of UC’s college radio station, WPNR said. “So, either way, I would have been considered acceptable by NYS guidelines. There are also a few extended health reasons that unfortunately make me eligible, too. I jumped on the chance as soon as I was eligible, but would have gladly waited my turn if that weren’t the case.”

New York State guidelines allow for a majority of individuals with underlying health conditions to register for an appointment providing the patient can provide identification and proof of said condition. All information regarding specific illnesses and cases can be found in the “am I eligible app” or here

“Only a sore and achy shoulder in the arm the vaccine was administered for the first time around,” Croft said. “After about 24 hours the soreness faded pretty quickly. It was not much different than the flu vaccine for me. However, the second dose packs a punch. I guess I am glad it does because that means the vaccine and your immune system are both working. Not only was my shoulder much more sore the second time around; I simply felt worn out and in a bit of a fog. I had a mild headache overnight and my body felt sore but it subsided pretty quickly with Tylenol and some rest.”

Croft went on to say that he woke up with chills the next night but felt well overall in the morning. Croft advises that anyone planning on receiving the vaccine prepares to take the following day off if possible. 

“I was able to receive the COVID vaccine by being an essential worker in a grocery store throughout the pandemic,” Sophomore Ally Greif said. “So far, I have only received the first dose, but my second dose is scheduled for this week.”

In addition to individuals who have underlying health conditions, grocery store workers who are in close contact with customers can also seek eligibility for the vaccine. 

“I did not get the vaccine but my grandma did and after she felt very sick and fatigued,” Sophomore Kyla Crawford said. “Dark, almost black blotches were starting to cover her skin. Luckily it went away after a few hours but I don’t think the vaccine should be recommended.” 

The side effects of the vaccine can be intimidating but they are fleeting. The side effects mean that the immune system of the patient is working and fighting to create a defense against the virus. 

Sites and availability for the COVID-19 vaccine can be found on the “am I eligible” app or in the linked pdf in addition to those recently listed. Some drug stores also have limited doses available depending on the location of the pharmacy.

“The vast majority of people are getting appointments through NYS and the most local site is at SUNY Poly,” Croft said. “However, it has been tricky to get a spot there due to the volume of people now eligible. There is an MVHS pod at Burrstone House, but I believe that usually requires specific eligibility locally. Many people I know are now taking appointments at places like the NYS fairgrounds in Syracuse.”


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