OHIO — As millions in Ohio wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a college student who was recently vaccinated hopes that by sharing his own experience, it’ll help others who are skeptical.
Sophomore nursing student Cory Burkhart just got back from winter break. When the 19 year old isn’t in the books or working as a resident assistant in his dorm at Otterbein University, he’s often across campus, setting up nursing labs for his peers.
But for much of last year, Burkhart stayed busy. He worked as a pharmacy tech at Genesis Hospital in Zanesville.
“During my lunch breaks, I would go into our conference room and like, attend class that was at 8:00. And then, I would keep working the rest of the day, and then go home and do the rest of my homework”
Filling and delivering medications in the hospital for patients, Cory said he knew that’s where he needed to be. In the right place at the right time, Burkhart got the COVID-19 Pfizer Vaccine the first week Ohio rolled it out. He got his second dose about a week ago.
“I was all excited to get the vaccine, and then the day that I was supposed to get it, I started like thinking, like should I do this? Like, should I really be doing this? I started freaking out. I remember texting my brother and I was like, 'Should I be getting this vaccine or no?'"
While he’d already done his research, he just needed some re-assurance.
"I mean it was a little, little scary just because I was like this is — this is so weird that I'm getting vaccine for something that I just heard about. But I wouldn't change it for anything. And I just go in blindly, but I, I did talk to other people to see what their reactions were whenever to the vaccine.”
The only reaction he had was a sore arm and fatigue.
Now, he’s helping and encouraging his nursing peers to do their own research on the vaccine.
“I've sent out text messages to multiple people who are about to get it, and I'm just like this is what happened to me. I know it might not be the same for you, but this may make you feel better. Like I'm fine.”
For those who are struggling with making the decision to get it, he said, “I make sure to let them know that like it's their decision full on. I'm not going to persuade them to do anything they don't want to do. A lot of them, I think, feel pushed just because since we are nursing students. We have kind of like a duty to our patients, and I feel like one of that duties to our patients is making sure that we aren't passing on any illnesses to them.”
But for Burkhart, he’s glad he got it.
“Right now really greatly defines the rest of the future for nursing and health care. So, it was important that I take the steps now to ensure a better health for the general public for the future."
Burkhart said he recognized that everyone has their own view points about the vaccine, but he does hope that at some point everyone in health care will get vaccinated. For now, he looks forward to working in emergency or mental health within pediatrics after graduation.