William Paul Ellis | Staff Writer
After previously promising that all Americans would have access to the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of summer, President Biden announced new directives to the public concerning the national vaccine rollout during a March 12 prime-time address to the nation, the first of his presidency.
Biden’s directions were given in conjunction with a timeline for all states to follow. By May 1, all adults should be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. This differs from the current eligibility guidelines that vary by state but can best be described as a priority system where only the most vulnerable Americans are allowed to receive the vaccine.
By July 4, President Biden intends for the country to be “closer to normal,” with the vast majority of Americans having received the vaccine.
Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health pandemic one year ago, over 500,000 Americans have died from the virus’ complications.
However, recent data has shown that the United States is potentially nearing the end of the pandemic.
As of March 12, approximately 2.3 million doses of the vaccine are being administered each day, and about 35 million people have been fully vaccinated, according to the New York Times.
Many young adults have been ineligible for the vaccine depending on their state of residence. However, the pandemic has continued to have a great impact on the daily lives and decisions of both young people and college students.
Hampton University first began holding fully virtual classes in March of 2020 and has continued to do so for the 2020-21 school year.
While most students agree on wanting to return to Hampton’s campus in the future, their opinion on the COVID-19 vaccine varies.
Nicole Brown, a senior marketing major from Lynchburg, VA spends her days at home interning for a prominent technology company but was able to get the vaccine in February.
According to Brown, her experience receiving the vaccine was positive.
“For my first shot I didn’t feel any serious effects,” Brown said, “But for my second shot, I felt soreness in my arm.”
Other Hampton University students have not been so optimistic.
Trevor Hutson, a senior entrepreneurship major from Brooklyn, New York, works part-time at a funeral home in the Hampton area and is frequently in contact with the public. However, he has still chosen not to receive the vaccine.
“I’ve been offered [the vaccine] but I wanted to see what the effects would be on others before taking it,” Hutson said.
Similarly, Eddy Baldwin, a senior sociology major from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is hesitant to receive the vaccine due to possible unknown side effects.
“The vaccines are being distributed on Emergency terms, so I’m cautious that there hasn’t been a thorough review or testing of the vaccines’ effects long-term,” Baldwin said.
While Hampton’s graduating seniors can continue to weigh their vaccine options, continuing students have less time to decide. On March 11, the University announced that starting this summer, the campus would re-open for continuing and new students— after they show proof of vaccination.