WFU vaccinates Group Four students

Students share their thoughts on getting vaccinated one year after the start of COVID-19


Vaccine clinics were common on campus and around Forsyth County in the early days of the pandemic.

Aine Pierre, News Editor

It has now been four and a half months since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19. Now, as of March 24, a large amount of Wake Forest students are eligible to receive the vaccine. 

Currently, all Wake Forest student employees are eligible to receive the vaccine, as well as any Wake Forest student with a health condition that increases their risk to either contract or be seriously affected by COVID-19. North Carolina expects to open up eligibility to students in university housing beginning April 7.

Wake Forest, which received authorization from the North Carolina Department of Health to administer vaccines, will begin vaccinating Group Four this week.

Student Health plans to distribute 1.044 doses of vaccine, 522 each on March 22 and 26. On March 29, the university plans to administer 300 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

On campus, those with vaccinations do not have any special privileges. Mask wearing is still required for all gatherings and classes, and mandatory COVID-19 tests and quarantine periods are still in effect.

That said, for many students, receiving a vaccine marks the beginning of the end of an era marked by uncertainty and isolation. For freshman Kate Burill, getting vaccinated means less stress around seeing loved ones.

“It is really exciting because it allows me to see my family and spend more time with my friends that are vaccinated without having to worry as much,” Burill said.

Freshman Bella Brazzano got her shot on a symbolic date.

“I was vaccinated March 13, one year after the world shut down,” Brazzano said. “It felt so good and I feel so much more comfortable around campus and in public.”

Senior Elizabeth Woolen emphasized the effect getting vaccinated has on the community.

“[Getting] the vaccine is both a stride to reach herd immunity and protect all those who are vulnerable,” Woolen said, “but also it [creates a] sense of normalcy again and moving past the pandemic.”

For freshman Ella Virkler, the vaccine is a symbol of commitment to others.

“For me, it means that you care about those around you,” Virkler said. “And that you are willing to go through some pain for the good of not only yourself, but those around you.”

Among those who received vaccinations on campus at the Sutton Center through Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, there was universal praise for the streamlined experience.

“It was seamless,” freshman Aman Khemlani said. “You verify your details, take a health survey, get vaccinated and wait 15 minutes.”

Though it is unclear how many more vaccines will need to be distributed in order for the university community to reach herd immunity and potentially shift to Green Operating Status, the vaccination process is bringing a degree of hope onto campus that the COVID-19 shadows may be lifting and that normalcy might be around the corner.

“The vaccine for me means hope and relief,” Khemlani said. “But [I know] we aren’t out of the woods yet.”

Update July 27, 2023: A previous version of this story contained a quote from a student who no longer wishes for her vaccination status to be known. Due to the privacy concerns raised by that student, the quote has been removed.