By KENNEDY WILLIAMS, LYNDSAY MACH AND MARCOS BROCH-MONFORT, NEWS3 Reporters
MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) — Gov. JB Pritzker’s new COVID-19 mandate requires vaccination or weekly testing for teachers and higher education students in Illinois.
WIU students have mixed emotions and have several reasons as to why they want to get the vaccine and to why they don’t.
Freshman Haley Washburn said she hasn’t focused on the vaccine, but from what she has read, she is not convinced she needs it.
“I have read stuff about infertility in the future and I don’t want to take that risk right now,” Washburn said in an interview outside the University Union.
Washburn joins other students like junior Aliyah Cobb, who said at first she was hopeful that the vaccine would save lives but then after reading on social media that it was taking lives, she began to second guess it.
“It was taking people, although they had nothing wrong with them,” Cobb said. “I’m scared that something will happen to me.”
However, junior and music therapy major Lily Fisher said it was important to get the vaccine to protect others.
“I have older parents, so I was really worried about them getting sick, so I was like if I protect myself, they would also be protected,” Fisher said.
The university is urging students to get the vaccine. Beu Health Center Director John Smith said administrators are sending warning letters to unvaccinated students who are not complying with the weekly testing mandate, but he does understand that some students may have doubts about receiving the vaccine.
“There’s always an inherent risk with any vaccine, so I do understand why some people have hesitancy,” Smith said in an interview at the University’s COVID-19 testing center.
Smith believes the vaccine, along with wearing a mask and social distancing, is the most effective way for people to be protected from COVID-19.
“We have more data on this vaccine than 80 percent of the other vaccines that are out there,” Smith said while wearing a white medical face mask. “It’s safe.”
Smith urges people to speak with a medical professional if they have concerns about the vaccine.