In an April 8 community-wide email, Lehigh released new protocols for students who receive the COVID-19 vaccine. As part of phase 1B, undergraduate students living in congregate housing such as dormitories and apartments are eligible for vaccination. (Annalise Kelloff/B&W Staff)

Students share thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine as Lehigh contemplates next steps


As distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine continues around the country, many Lehigh students are anticipating their chance to receive it. 

Lori Friedman, Lehigh’s director of Media Relations, said in an email the vaccine is estimated to be widely available by mid-summer.

Vaccinations are currently being distributed to those most at risk, but David Rubenstein, executive director of the Health and Wellness Center, explained what the university is doing to prepare for the future. 

“(Lehigh is) working alongside and communicating with healthcare entities, for example Lehigh Valley Health Network, we are paying close attention to how the state will secure and distribute vaccines and the process of distribution and prioritization,” Rubenstein said in an email.

When the COVID-19 vaccine becomes accessible to younger populations, Friedman said the university is considering adding it to its list of required vaccinations for students.  

Sarah Abdalla, ‘24, said she plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine once it is available to her and believes Lehigh should eventually require students to receive it. 

Abdalla said she does not have any reservations about receiving the vaccine because her mom is a doctor who has been vaccinated. She said it is important to trust the science and feels comfortable getting a vaccine that was developed more quickly than others. 

She said she is looking forward to the security that the COVID-19 vaccine will bring her. 

“I want to stop wearing masks as often as we do, and I want to have a semi-normal college life,” Abdalla said.

Sosi Korian, ‘23, has been vaccinated due to her asthma and said once the vaccine is available to college students, they need to take advantage of the opportunity.

“I think that generally speaking, our age group is spreading (COVID-19) a lot, and I think that’s putting other people who have underlying conditions or are older at even more risk,” Korian said. 

Korian said she was initially nervous about being vaccinated because she was in the first group of people her age to receive it. 

Despite this, Korian felt it was important to trust the science given the benefits widespread vaccination can provide and the number of lives that have been lost. 

“I think that it was more important to me that I protect my health and the health of those around me than to live in fear of modern medicine,” Korian said. 

Jace Hannah,‘24, also plans to get the vaccine as soon as possible. 

She said she is slightly nervous about possible side effects such as muscle pain, as she has experienced it in the past.

“I know that hopefully it’s temporary, and it doesn’t last long. I’d rather be protected than just sitting here trying to avoid everyone and everything,” Hannah said.

Hannah said it would be beneficial for Lehigh to administer the vaccine to students, if possible, in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by traveling away from campus. 

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