By: Deborah Coopersmith  | 

We Asked, Y(O)U Answered: Perspectives on the Vaccine

It's only been a few months since a COVID-19 vaccine became available to eligible members of the public. The Commentator reached out to students to hear their opinions on who they thought should be eligible for vaccines, whether they chose to get vaccinated if they were eligible, general thoughts about vaccine distribution and YU’s policy on not notifying individuals who are eligible. Due to the personal nature of these entries, some have chosen to remain anonymous. The responses of six students are provided below. 

Anonymous (SCW ‘22)

Major: Computer Science

Vaccination Status: Moderna-Fully vaccinated

“I work at HASC homes as direct support staff on some Shabbats.

“I chose to take the vaccine because I believe that it’s my responsibility to protect the women at my group home as much as I can and also take the opportunity to protect everyone I interact with. I believe that once I was deemed eligible, it was my halakhic and hashkafic responsibility to get the vaccine, especially after listening to Rav Willig speak about it. It’s scary to receive a new vaccine, but it is the best I can do with the knowledge I have right now.

“It was not hard to get an appointment because my group home was allotted special times for their essential workers. This was about a week before all these sites were backed up with waiting lines.”

Jacob Shiner (Sy Syms ’21)

Major: Accounting/Finance

Vaccination Status: Fully vaccinated

“I work for YU in the Admissions Office as a student ambassador and I have asthma, which allowed me to get early eligibility. When I had the chance to get vaccinated, I jumped on it so I could resume normal life.

“The eligibility list doesn’t make sense to me. In particular, hospital administrators, who don’t interact with patients or doctors, were among the first to be vaccinated. Also, people with medical conditions that they’ve overgrown were also among the first groups eligible. While I don’t think I should have been in one of the first few groups to be eligible, it is my job to get the vaccine when I am eligible.

“The NYS portal was very difficult to navigate, but my aunt who volunteers for an organization that registers elderly individuals for vaccine appointments helped me find an appointment time.

“I’m from Illinois, but I got vaccinated in New York. In Illinois it is more complicated to get a vaccine. I blame it on our politicians who seem to be corrupt, power-hungry, two-faced and inept individuals. They prioritized minorities in an attempt to push ‘equity,’ similar to the Biden administration, but I think there is a difference between equity and equality.

“YU should start following science instead of stringencies. For example, I don’t understand why I test twice weekly since I am fully vaccinated and display zero symptoms.”

Jonah Goldstein  (Makor ‘21)

Major: Culinary

Vaccination Status: Moderna-Fully vaccinated

“I took the Moderna vaccine because I want to spend time with my family and my nephews and nieces. I took the vaccine because I want to be in good health and stay healthy.

“At first, it was very hard to get an appointment. My father knows someone who works in a hospital and he helped us make an appointment.”

Adina Bruce (SCW ‘22)

Major: Computer Science

Vaccination Status: Not Eligible

“I would have liked YU to be more communicative about which of their student workers were eligible. The wording from NYC’s eligibility site is vague as to which college workers are actually eligible. In the end, I concluded that I do not personally qualify for the eligibility requirements. Since then, I have heard of other student workers who were able to get a vaccine.  However, there has been no communication from YU as to which of their student workers are eligible. I do not believe that I should be relying on rumors from other students when we are in the midst of a global pandemic. I would argue that there are clear ethical issues in YU not notifying their employees about their vaccine status.”

Shuie Berger (YC ‘23)

Major: Biology

Vaccination Status: Not Eligible

“I think the eligibility list is fine. It’s important to make sure that those who are most at risk are vaccinated, such as people over a certain age, as well as immunocompromised people, old age home workers and others. I think the list prioritized those and that’s good.

“However, I believe that vaccines should have been distributed by the federal government rather than by states. States like Georgia are failing to effectively inoculate people, while places like NY and NJ are already rolling out eligibility to people with the widest range of jobs. If it were federally distributed, it might have been more effectively given out everywhere rather than in a few states. Perhaps they should have given the vaccines in proportion to the population. That way every state could effectively distribute the same percentage of vaccines. Overall, it isn’t so bad, but it could be better.

“I honestly didn’t even know about YU’s policy of not telling employees and student workers if they are eligible, and I think it’s stupid because everyone should know whether or not they’re eligible. Getting the vaccine is crucial to stopping the pandemic and if people don’t know they’re eligible, they won’t get it and it could enable the virus to continue spreading. YU needs better people at the helm when dealing with coronavirus issues.

“I think YU needs to address the issue of vaccinated people. They should put out new rules for vaccinated people. One rule could be that if there are only vaccinated people in a room, then masks don’t need to be worn.”

Rachel Mauda (SCW ‘21)

Major: Biochemistry

Vaccination Status: Pfizer-Fully vaccinated

“I am currently in Israel where everyone above the age of 16 is eligible to get the vaccine. There are many doses available in Israel. I chose to take it because I would like to avoid quarantine. The Ministry of Health has put up many stations, often not requiring an appointment.”


Photo Caption: The Commentator reached out to students to hear their opinions on the COVID-19 vaccines.

Photo Credit: Pixabay