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Pierce professors get vaccinated

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Pierce professors get vaccinated
Pierce College Professor Angela Belden, receiving first dose of Pfizer vaccine at Cal State University of Northridge in Los Angeles, Calif., on March 7, 2021. Photo by David Pashaee

For some Pierce College professors. finding a COVID-19 vaccine appointment feels like winning the lottery. 

On March 1, Los Angeles County entered a new tier allowing professors, school staff and childcare providers to get vaccinated.

Psychology and Statistics professor Angela Belden said she made it her priority to book an appointment to get the vaccine.

“It involved some obsessive checking of the internet, so as soon as they announced that teachers, educational faculty and staff would be eligible starting March 1, I started looking to sign up,” Belden said. 

Scheduling an appointment wasn’t difficult, according to Belden, but the worry and stress of not being able to arrange one weighed on her.

“Until [COVID’s transmission rate] goes down to little or none, I’m still going to have worries,” Belden said. “My wife and I both have vaccine appointments, but our four children are not eligible for the vaccine yet. While I’m thrilled that my wife and I can be vaccinated, we still have to be extremely worried for our children and other members of our family.”

There is still a great deal of angst and anxiety surrounding the ability to receive the vaccine”, Belden said. “I recognize the great privilege that I have since I work in education and it has been prioritized. I have a stable internet connection and the time to check.”

Since February, Pierce has been offering free COVID testing and vaccinations for those eligible. But according to Senate President Barbara Anderson, the school’s faculty and administration have to find appointments like everyone else. 

“Even though Pierce is a testing site for COVID-19, it doesn’t give us a cut in line in getting the vaccine,”Anderson said. “We’re like all the other people in different categories working our way to get that vaccine.”

Anderson said that professors are eager to return to campus when they’re able to get vaccinated.

“A lot of us have said ‘Oh, I’ll be so glad when I have it so I can get back to face-to-face instruction’ while many of us prefer online teaching,” Anderson said, “we don’t get to connect with students and many of us miss that.”

Professor Yeprem Davoodian, who received his first vaccine on March 7, said that he thinks students are more successful on campus.

“Research indicates the longer students are on campus, the more successful they are because of exposure to community and resources,” Davoodian said. “Right now in the virtual environment, the element of human connection is missing. Communication in the classroom via Zoom is hard.”

Davoodian said that although he is healthy, he felt compelled to get vaccinated. He wouldn’t mind waiting for the vaccine, but wanted to get one in case the school made it mandatory to return to campus.

Davoodian said he considered himself lucky to book an appointment.

“It wasn’t easy, and it was partially frustrating because everyone had gotten wind of when to register,” Davoodian said. “It was like the hunger games, everyone trying to get the vaccine.”

Belden said she made her appointment to protect herself and her family, and she’s passionate about the power the vaccine holds.

“Vaccines save lives and we need to do everything we can to save lives,” Belden said. “They continue to do so by preventing the spread of disease.”