Julie Zobel called Wednesday’s initial COVID-19 vaccination clinic at EagleBank Arena for George Mason University students the pinnacle of her team’s efforts in combating the spread of the virus.
Working in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Health and regional public health agencies, Mason took a major step toward resuming a normal campus life by starting the inoculation of roughly 4,000 Mason students, all of whom will receive their first of two Moderna shots during scheduled clinics on April 21 and April 23.
“This is what we’ve been working for,” said Zobel, Mason’s associate vice president of Safety, Emergency, and Enterprise Risk Management. “This is why we started this clinic back in January so that we would be able to provide shots to faculty, staff and students. Seeing this come to fruition has been very satisfying.”
Roughly 2,000 students signed up for appointments for Wednesday’s first opportunity for students, and those in attendance were both happy and extremely relieved to be there.
A smoothly run operation by Zobel’s team made sure everybody was in and out of the arena in short order.
“This is a huge relief, and I’m just happy it’s over,” said Naser Al-Alami, a sophomore business major from Jordan. “I was a little apprehensive at first, but the more I read about it and the more people I knew who got the vaccine made me more comfortable.”
Others like biology graduate student and U.S. Army soldier Kyle Avery had different reasons for making sure to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Avery came down with COVID-19 a few months back, with his wife ultimately contracting it as well.
He said it was something he’d rather never experience again.
“I’m just happy it’s done,” he said.
Students received Moderna shots on Wednesday, and that is likely to be the case again on Friday, said David Farris, Mason’s executive director of Safety and Emergency Management.
Students who receive their first dose at Mason were given the opportunity to schedule their second dose four weeks later at Mason even if the second dose needed to be scheduled following the conclusion of the spring semester.
Students who don’t reside locally or can’t come back to Mason for their second dose have been encouraged to schedule their second dose near their permanent residence.
“It just feels good to get started,” said Kenneth Jones, a junior design art major from Woodbridge, Virginia. “Hopefully, we can all get back to normal soon.”