The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 27th

Editorial: Students, get vaccinated

<p>Chapel Hill resident Kuan-Yi Lu recieves the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination at the Friday Center on Mar. 22. Thousands of vaccines are administered by medical students and nurses every day.</p>
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Chapel Hill resident Kuan-Yi Lu recieves the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination at the Friday Center on Mar. 22. Thousands of vaccines are administered by medical students and nurses every day.

Vaccine distribution in North Carolina is moving along at a steady pace. As of March 22, 14.1 percent of the state’s total population has been fully vaccinated. 

North Carolina entered Group 4 of vaccine distribution on March 17 for people with high-risk medical conditions. On April 7, the rest of Group 4 will open. This includes faculty, staff and student employees not yet vaccinated, as well as students living in congregate housing both on and off-campus. 

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, check out this Q&A from UNC's virtual vaccine town hall.

To find out where to get vaccinated in Chapel Hill and the Triangle area, check out this list

The University also announced last week that it would open a vaccination clinic on campus, so it may become easier for students to get vaccinated in the coming weeks and months. While students will not be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine, it is strongly encouraged.

But "vaccine guilt" is making some young people are hesitant to get the vaccine, thinking they should give up their spot to make room for others instead. 

If you are eligible for the vaccine, you should get it — even if you think you don’t deserve it as much as someone else. There’s no reason to believe that if you forgo the vaccine, it will go to someone who is at higher risk. In fact, it may result in a wasted dose. 

And while younger people generally may not be as vulnerable to COVID-19, we are more likely to spread it to others. Data show that adults aged 20 to 49 were responsible for the vast majority of COVID-19 transmission last year, with those aged 20 to 34 contributing to 34.7 percent of virus transmission. 

Colleges and universities, in particular, have become hot spots for virus transmission — and campus outbreaks are often directly connected with infection peaks in surrounding towns and counties.

So by getting vaccinated, you’re not just protecting yourself — you’re protecting the people around you, too. 

Experts have estimated that 70 to 90 percent of the population must be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity is the point at which enough people are immune to a virus that it no longer easily spreads through a population.  But this is only possible if everyone does their part. 

With a vaccine clinic opening up on campus, students will soon have increased access to the vaccine — something that is not necessarily afforded to marginalized groups or those living in rural areas. 

But if you’re still feeling guilty, here are some ways you can help with vaccine distribution:

  • Sign up to volunteer at a vaccination event in your county.
  • You can also sign up with VacCorps, a nonprofit that connects volunteers with vaccination centers across North Carolina. 
  • Sign up for Carolina COVID-19 Student Services Corps.
  • If you're a Spanish speaker, sign up to volunteer at the Friday Center and Hillsborough vaccine clinics through UNC Health. 
  • Encourage friends, family and housemates to get vaccinated whenever possible, and help them find an appointment if they're having any trouble.

Every time someone gets vaccinated, we move one step closer to herd immunity and reducing community spread.

However, that doesn't make it OK to manipulate the system or cut the line — it's still important to wait your turn. And with President Joe Biden's recent announcement that all U.S. adults will be eligible for a vaccine by May 1, you shouldn't have to wait much longer.  

Take advantage of the resources soon to be on campus, and get vaccinated as soon as you can.

@dthopinion

opinion@dailytarheel.com

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