‘I feel more hopeful’: We spoke to Lancaster students about getting the Covid-19 vaccine

‘Vaccination is the only way to get back to normal life’

In the year since the WHO declared coronavirus a global pandemic, our lives have become almost unrecognisable and the student life many of us came to university to experience has been very different to our expectations. The impact of lockdown has affected many students’ mental health and made people’s daily lives difficult, with the vaccination scheme seeming like the light at the end of the tunnel. It is a glimmer of hope for many of us, as we count down the days until the 21st of June and seeing our loved ones again.

We found that eight per cent of Lancaster students have already received their vaccine, and nine per cent have planned to – we spoke to those willing to share their experiences and their opinions on the vaccine, and what they are looking forward to in the future.

“It really affects your mental health knowing you’re not supposed to go out and be cooped up inside”

Holly, a first year from Furness, has had the vaccine. She experienced “flu like symptoms which lasted a few days” but said “it really puts me at ease thinking I can go out more places and not have to shield as much as I did”. She told us: “the nurses were amazing… They even offered it to my flat mate who came with me for support which was amazing.”

When asked about if the vaccine should be compulsory, she answered “It should be done in order of priority but I do think that it should be compulsory for everyone because a lot of people don’t realise their actions can cost us our lives.”

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“Knowing that I’ll be able to meet with my friends and family again soon made it 100 per cent worth it”

Morgan, a second year medical student, received the Pfizer vaccine due to their clinical placement where there are Covid patients on most wards. “I think anybody who is eligible should have the vaccine… I genuinely believe that you’re being selfish if you can take it but don’t. I don’t, however, support making it compulsory.”

On the side effects of the vaccine he described “some side effects but nothing unbearable” and said “dealing with those side effects was more than worth it. Knowing I’ll be able to meet with my friends and family again soon made it 100 per cent worth it. I’m glad we’re (hopefully) on the road to recovery and can get back to normal soon.”

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“I’m really looking forward to hugging my grandparents”

Noah had the Pfizer vaccine at the new health campus building, and described it as “really well run”. Their side effects were “nothing awful at all – so worth it for the safety”.

On the necessity of the vaccine: “It’s the only way we’re going to actually get out of the pandemic. Everyone offered it should take it, the quicker the better – I just want sugar back.”

“It’s done wonders for my well-being and I’m really looking forward to hugging my grandparents who’ve been fully vaccinated at Easter.”

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“Everyone should have a choice when it comes to anything like this”

We also spoke to students who were planning on getting the vaccine soon. Laura, a first year from Lonsdale, says she is “looking forward to a normal life again” and is getting the vaccine “to protect everyone else as well.”

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“It feels like something that would go down in history and that I could tell my grandchildren”

Josie received the Oxford vaccine through her job as she “knew it would protect vulnerable people from getting Covid” and thought “it was well organised and all the staff were lovely and explained what side effects I may have.”

She thinks the vaccine should not be compulsory: “however if people want to get back to normal life quicker then they should choose to have the vaccine.” As a result of having the vaccine she feels “relieved that I have a good amount of protection against getting Covid and I’m less worried I could catch it and give it to close family or people I work with”. On the experience of getting the vaccine: “it feels like something that would go down in history and that I could tell my grandchildren.”

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“The more people that get it, the better”

Elysia is a second year Biological Sciences student who is expecting to get the vaccine soon. For her, vaccination marks “the start of getting out of lockdown” and feels “the more people that get it, the better”. On whether it should be compulsory, she disagrees but adds, “it should be strongly advised. Just like how it is compulsory to have some vaccines for other diseases to enter a country, in an ideal world that would be the same here.”

After restrictions have been lifted, Elysia is “really looking forward to getting back to normal, Glow and Sugar included of course!”

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“It’s giving me some sort of hope”

Leigh, a fourth year in graduate college, described getting the vaccine as the “biggest relief” and says “it’s giving me some sort of hope that we will get back to normal and I can hopefully see the inside of sugar again to celebrate my undergrad and Masters.”

For her, vaccination is “the best way for us to finally get back to normal and take the strain off the NHS.”

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“I think getting the vaccine has helped me start to feel more positive”

Georgia, who has been given the Pfizer vaccine, said “all the staff were really nice and the vaccine itself didn’t hurt”, although she did experience some side effects for the rest of that day.

Taking the vaccine has allowed Georgia to feel “more positive” and for her, “vaccination is the only way to get back to normal life.” Now she feels “more hopeful, even though it will be a long time before things are normal again. I think this is also the reason I decided to get the vaccine, my mental health has been suffering massively and I needed something to give me some sense of hope.”

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