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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Texas State community reacts to first vaccine distribution event


A sign points patients toward the vaccine event sign in, Friday, March 12, 2021, the LBJ Student Center.

A year after Texas State announced the extension of spring break 2020 and the transition to remote learning in response to growing concern over the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of students, faculty and staff were vaccinated at the university’s first COVID-19 vaccination event on March 12.
The vaccine distribution was organized in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom where many exited with cheers and even exchanged hugs after receiving their vaccine.
Texas State groundskeeper David Sanchez says he is grateful the university offered him the vaccine after numerous failed attempts to secure a vaccination appointment elsewhere.
“You know I have my fair share of health problems, and I’m just trying to do what I can to keep myself, family and colleagues safe,” Sanchez says.
Student Health Center Director Emilio Carranco says this initial allocation round focused on individuals who exhibit a greater health risk than others.
“It was very important to me that we begin the distributions by targeting the folks who are at the highest risk for complications and death,” Carranco says.
Students, faculty and staff eligible to receive a vaccine were notified via email to select an appointment time. Carranco adds the university cannot send out further invitations until vaccines arrive on campus. This ensures more people will show up for their appointment and help eliminate the number of no-shows due to forgetfulness or finding an earlier availability at a different location, Carranco says.
When receiving her email that she had been selected for vaccination, Shelby Gaines, an education freshman, expressed excitement and eagerness.
“I actually like screamed a little bit, I was so happy,” Gaines says. “I started registering as soon as possible.”
With the increasing availability of vaccines, Gaines says she is hopeful the number of COVID-19 cases will decline which, in turn, will allow her to enjoy time on campus.
“I want to experience that campus lifestyle and campus events, cause I’m not really doing that right now,” Gaines says.
Don Gwynn, an educational technology graduate student, was impressed with the university’s process in scheduling vaccination appointments.
“I was amazed when I got the email from Texas State; I was amazed because literally, I signed up in 10 minutes and had [the vaccine] scheduled for today,” Gwynn says. ”It was a very fast process considering state access to the vaccines.”
Texas State was approved to distribute vaccines as early as January. However, due to the limited supply of vaccines, the university was unable to secure any vaccinations from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) until March.
“The [DSHS] was prioritizing hubs, and so a lot of that vaccine was going to hubs where they were tasked with trying to do mass immunizations,” Carranco says. “Finally, after weeks of submitting requests, we finally got the 300 doses of Johnson & Johnson [vaccines].”
Texas State also received 500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from Hays County as part of a new collaboration between the two. Through this partnership, Carranco says the university will use vaccines provided by the county to vaccinate the university population along with county residents.
Paulina Alvarez, a microbiology junior and student volunteer with the Texas State Medical Explorers, assisted in the event by greeting individuals, passing out and collecting paperwork, answering questions and ensuring individuals felt okay while they waited for 15 minutes after receiving their vaccine. Alvarez says being involved in the vaccination process has been exciting.
“People come in and they’re ecstatic,” Alvarez says. “It’s a big deal because it means we’re on track to getting back to our normal lives. A lot of people haven’t left their houses in a while so for them it’s like a relief that they can finally be free.”
With the relief and excitement, the vaccine distribution also brought guilt. Joshua Raila, an applied arts student, says there are essential workers such as teachers, waiters and grocery store employees who have not been vaccinated.
“If we’re going to call people essential workers and not treat them as such… like, let’s not just have this be lip service,” Raila says.
Carranco says no system is perfect and, going forward, the university will continue to make adjustments as needed to ensure more people are vaccinated when more vaccines arrive.
“As we move through the next few weeks, the populations that are eligible are going to get bigger and bigger and bigger,” Carranco says. “What we’re planning is a series of weekly vaccination events, and we’re going to continue to do that until we get as many people vaccinated as we can.”
Though the pandemic is not over, some feel getting the vaccine is a step toward the return to some form of normalcy.
“It’s the first time I’ve allowed myself to kind of imagine a light at the end of the tunnel,” Raila says.

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  • A row of vaccine consent forms wait to be filled out, Friday, March 12, 2021, the LBJ Student Center.

  • Student Health Center Director Emilio Carranco at Texas State’s vaccine distribution event, Friday, March 12, 2021, the LBJ Student Center.

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