Student opinions and concerns about COVID-19 vaccine addressed

Co-authored by Ysabel Berger and Kate Hickman

With the COVID-19 vaccine now available to all adults in Utah, various UVU student concerns and opinions were collected from an anonymous survey about the vaccine. These opinions and concerns, listed below, are anonymous and address scientific studies.

  1. The vaccine was rushed

    “I will be getting the covid-19 vaccine because it is safe and effective. I also have no reason not to get it.” -Anonymous student

    “While I’m not against vaccinations as a whole, the covid-19 vaccination was very rushed and highly politicized. Most vaccines should have more than a single year of development and clinical trials before being broadly administered to the public, that’s just unsafe medical protocol”-Anonymous student


    While the COVID-19 vaccine was released quicker than the average vaccine, all of the appropriate clinical trials were completed safely. The principle method for the vaccine (antigen injection leading to antibody production) uses research from mRNA vaccines that has been ongoing for over a decade. Additionally, there was a heightened sense of urgency from the various effects of the pandemic (including hospitalizations and its impact on the economy). With extensive support from the government, the international community, and the general public, pre-emptive building of manufacturing facilities, quick participant enrollment, and an expedited review were utilized to bring the vaccine to Americans. – {sources: Nature 589, 16-18 (2021); cdc.org}
  2. The vaccine has side-effects

    “I’m getting the vaccine because it is every American’s civil duty to look out for yourself and your country. I’m getting the vaccine so that I can be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. I’m getting the vaccine so I can travel internationally again in the future”-Anonymous student

    “I was hoping to wait a little bit longer before getting it but my mother was the one who pushed me to get it so soon so yeah, if I’m sterile because of the vaccine I blame my mother.”-Anonymous student


    Side-effects are typical, stemming from inflammation that vaccines cause while your body is learning to protect itself against the virus. Reported symptoms include a notable immune response, soreness at the injection site, fatigue, headaches, body aches, nausea, chills, fever, and joint pain. Side-effects start about 12 hours after the shot, last for 24-48 hours, are more common after the 2nd dose, and are less common in adults older than 55. There is no scientific evidence that COVID-19, vaccines, or common infections such as measles or the common cold affect fertility patterns. Considering the potential severity of COVID-19 and the risks it presents, the vaccine side-effects seem to be worth the trade-off. {Sources: gavi.org; cdc.org; cdc.org-monitoring; news.llu.edu}
  3. The vaccine costs money

    “My short opinion on why I’m taking the vaccine: It’s the only ethical option. And it’s free!”-Anonymous student

    “I don’t want the vaccine for a very good reason. I am afraid of needles and I hate getting my flu shot every year. If I can escape this year without needing 2 more shots, I will be a happy man.”-Anonymous student


    There is no cost to get vaccinated. State and federal governments are rolling out vaccinations and covering the fees associated, even for individuals with no insurance. Quoting the CDC, “The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.” To schedule a vaccination near you, visit: https://vaccinefinder.org/.
  4. The vaccine doesn’t matter

    “I am definitely going to get the vaccine because I want the people in my life to be safe and I want the world to be normal again so so bad. And everyone getting the vaccine is the only way that’s going to happen.” -Anonymous student

    “I will not be getting the vaccine because I am not worried about contracting the virus. If I get it I am sure I will survive and then I will have had the experience of knowing what it felt like and I live for experiences.” -Anonymous student

    Over the last year, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of over 500 thousand Americans and affected the way of life for millions more, from work to schooling, to how customers interact with businesses. While not everyone suffers serious side effects or passes away from COVID-19, we may be in contact with people who have the virus or know someone who may be at risk. Taking the appropriate measures, such as wearing a mask, limiting gatherings, and getting vaccinated reduces transmission and mortality rates in our communities and is an effective way to protect the people around us. Additionally, many of the long-term effects of contracting the virus are not yet known, and even people who aren’t at-risk may be susceptible to them. {Sources: COVID-19 death count; cdc.gov/coronavirus//long-term-effects}

    (Here is a helpful infographic on how the vaccine works from the CDC). 

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