As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan continues in Michigan, some Albion College community members qualify to be vaccinated, becoming some of the first people in the country able to receive the vaccine.
With different reasons to get vaccinated and different experiences with the vaccination process, The Pleiad’s “Vaccinated Brits” series features members of the college community who have been vaccinated, highlighting their reasons for receiving the vaccine and experiences after the COVID-19 vaccination.
Elizabeth Cavataio, a junior from Washington Township, received her first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at Lake Huron Medical Center a few days before the new year. 21 days later, she received her second dose.
Cavataio is an employee at a medical office and worked throughout the summer screening patients to keep her office safe. She sat at the door taking temperatures and going through a series of questions.
“I worked eight-plus hour days wearing a gown, gloves, mask and face shield,” said Cavataio, via email. “Coming into contact with COVID-19 positive patients was kind of scary, but I am glad I was able to do my part and help out during the pandemic.”
Cavataio’s boss contacted Lake Huron Medical Center in Port Huron and put all of his staff on the vaccine waitlist. Cavataio said it was important to her boss that his staff had the opportunity to be vaccinated. When there were available vaccines, Lake Huron Medical Center called her office, and the staff was able to make a same-day or next-day appointment.
Cavataio’s call came on Dec. 29, 2020, which happened to be her 21st birthday. She received her first vaccination one day later.
“I was so overcome with emotions. I cried tears of joy,” said Cavataio. “I didn’t imagine my 21st birthday in a pandemic, but it seemed like such a gift to learn that I was going to be vaccinated.”
Cavataio was vaccinated at Lake Huron Medical Center in Port Huron. The National Guard was there around the clock administering the vaccine. As far as side effects go, Cavataio’s were mild. She said that her arm was a little more sore compared to other vaccinations, and she had mild body aches after the second.
A few days after receiving her first dose, Cavataio lost a loved one due to COVID-19.
“I don’t know if I will ever be the same after having to endure such a great loss, but I find hope in the fact that if we can move toward a vaccinated population, less and less people will have to feel the great and sudden loss that my family and so many other families have had to endure,” said Cavataio. “Getting your COVID-19 vaccine is a small thing that you can do to make a big impact. It is bigger than yourself.”
While Cavataio has a sense of relief knowing she’s vaccinated, she said that she will continue to social distance and wear a mask. She feels a responsibility to share her experience and encourage others to get the vaccine. She said the COVID-19 vaccine is like the flu shot in the way that it works better when more of the population gets it because there is more herd immunity.
“When I found out that I would be able to get the vaccine, I felt honored to have the opportunity. A thought that kept going through my mind was that this is a huge part of history and a huge feat in science,” said Cavataio. “So, while the actual poke only took about one second, and I barely even felt it, it was a momentous occasion in my life. It is something I am going to remember forever. Because on that day, I did my part to help protect the lives of so many and make an effort toward change.”