FAU provides COVID-19 vaccine to nursing students

Students and faculty share their experience and expertise about the COVID-19 vaccines.


Photo by Alex Liscio.

Taylor Reid, Contributing Writer

FAU began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible recipients on Jan. 4, 2021.

Student Health Services contacted medical professionals at the university, including nursing and medical students who work in hospitals, and offered vaccinations to them. 

“I received an email from the College of Nursing asking students who are in clinicals if they wanted to take the vaccine. I signed up and then was sent an email from student services about scheduling a date and time,” said FAU nursing student Julia Albers.

She received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Jan. 11 and the second one on Feb. 8, 28 days apart as recommended by the CDC

After going through a series of clinical trials, the Moderna vaccine was 91.4% effective in preventing people who received those two doses from becoming ill with COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine is the other authorized vaccine in the U.S.

The nursing student recalled waiting 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine to be monitored for any adverse reactions. She described having pain near the site of injection in her arm, body aches, and chills. These are common side effects cited by the CDC.

“I was nervous and excited as I was about to get vaccines with something that will help me be more in contact with my patients,” said Albers. The patients she works with in pediatrics have a higher risk of contracting the virus than the average adult.

Albers’ clinicals would have started soon, but they were canceled last week. The nursing student hoped to gain hands-on experience in obstetrics (delivering babies) in the upcoming fall semester. 

While Albers expressed optimism about the vaccine allowing her to continue her studies, another student shared a different experience.

Tahj, a junior at FAU, said he would not take the vaccine. He is not a medical or nursing student. 

“The reason being is that I feel that just in previous years our nation has never been transparent concerning the health care of African Americans, and people to begin with,” the student said. 

The Tuskegee Study is an example of a lack of transparency and the use of unethical practices that led to 600 uninformed African American men not receiving proper treatment for syphilis.

According to the CDC, this went on for 40 years. 

The FAU student said he was still hesitant to take the vaccine even though more transparency would be helpful. He questioned the speed at which the vaccines were developed. 

Dr. Joanna L. Drowos, a professor of family medicine, said: “The available vaccines underwent rigorous testing for both efficacy and safety before receiving authorization for use in patients in the US…The vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards, as well as measuring the protection benefits in different patients.”

Although the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were developed with speed, they went through various tests to ensure the safety of those who wish to take them. 

“Some patients may be concerned about getting infected from the vaccine, or may think that because it involves messenger RNA there is the potential for it to change their DNA,” Dr. Drowos said. 

Albers stated that the vaccine does not contain the live virus but “will help your body make antibodies against the virus.”

Dr. Drowos explained that the vaccine contains “a harmless spike protein” to help the body create those antibodies. 

The number of medical professionals and students that received the vaccine through FAU was not provided by Student Health Services.

Scott Harrison, a nurse from FAU Student Health Services stated that the university is waiting for more doses of the vaccine to begin administering it to faculty and staff 65-years of age and older. 

Taylor Reid is a Contributing Writer for the University Press. For information on this or other stories, contact her on Twitter and Instagram @tayyalissa.