Tess Van Buskirk, '21, smiles under her mask after recieving one of the COVID-19 Vaccine doses. She is one of many Lehigh student healthcare workers who has been vaccinated.(Courtesy of Tess Van Buskirk)

Student healthcare workers share experiences after receiving COVID-19 vaccines


A handful of Lehigh students have been front-of-line in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, which has become increasingly available since mid-December. 

Variations of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given to students who are healthcare workers, particularly those who work in hospitals or are around COVID-19 patients.

Tess Van Buskirk, ‘21, an EMT and healthcare worker, said she felt it was important to receive the vaccine in order to safely continue working throughout the pandemic.

“We’re surrounded by COVID-positive patients at work every day,” Van Buskirk said. “But I felt more relieved after receiving the vaccine knowing that I can do my job more safely and effectively.”

Maria Beatty, ‘21, a healthcare worker, said she felt more reassured after receiving the vaccine, knowing that she is safer and is simultaneously protecting the people around her. 

She said she had no major concerns before receiving the vaccine because it would allow her to work around patients and be around her family members as well.

Allison Cronin, ‘21, an EMT in both New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, said she believed the vaccine would be safe, but was still nervous because it’s so new.

“Even though there’s a lot of research out there, I couldn’t help but feel a little worried about it in the back of my mind,” Cronin said.

Van Buskirk said she was also nervous after experiencing some symptoms from the first vaccine because she was warned that the symptoms could be more severe after the second dose.

“Seven or eight hours after the second dose, my face broke out in hives,” she said. “But other than that I didn’t have any other symptoms.”

Cronin said she also experienced some symptoms after her first and second doses.

She said the day of her first dose, she felt lethargic and weak, and woke up with a slight fever and sore arm the following morning. 

Cronin said the symptoms she experienced after the second dose were slightly worse because she felt feverish and had muscle aches. However, she was able to go back to work a few days later.

Beatty said the symptoms vary for everyone. 

“I got the vaccine at 9 a.m. and continued working for the rest of the day with no problems,” Beatty said. “I didn’t feel any symptoms or side effects, and my arm wasn’t even sore until I went to bed that night.”

Cronin said that despite experiencing some symptoms, she is glad she got the vaccine because it has given her a sense of security and a peace of mind.

It’s important to still be careful and take precautions as a healthcare worker even after recieving the vaccine, she said.

“Knowing that I’m less likely to contract or give someone else COVID is a great feeling, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop wearing a mask,” she said.

It’s important to still be careful even after receiving the vaccine, she said. Especially as healthcare workers, we need to take those precautions.

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