Photo by Stephanie Swart
By Zoe Morton, Staff Writer-
As Tennessee rolls out Covid-19 vaccines, faculty and staff are eagerly awaiting their turn. Some were included in early tiers, others search for no-waste lists, but the consensus is just that: eager.
Since the Covid vaccine distribution began on Dec. 14 in the United States, over 41 million people have been fully vaccinated. Among those vaccinated are a few UTC faculty and staff.
While teaching at higher education is not yet a qualifier for the Covid vaccine, professors, most of whom have been teaching in-person classes throughout the entire pandemic, are eager to be vaccinated.
Felicia McGhee, associate professor and head of the communications department, said receiving her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine was liberating, but said she never felt unsafe on campus.
With March signifying a full year since Covid hit the United States, the liberation faculty and staff are experiencing after finally receiving vaccines is understandable.
James Tanner, a lecturer in the communications department, echoed the same sentiments.
“Emotionally, a weight has been lifted, and moving towards getting this over with is a relief,” he said.
Both McGhee and Tanner received their vaccines at Enterprise South Nature Park in Chattanooga, which is set up as a drive-through style where those receiving the vaccine stay in their car.
Tanner also applauded the efforts of both the University, his colleagues, and the students for their efforts to stay safe on campus.
“I always felt relatively safe. I give kudos to UTC and the students,” Tanner said. “I even taught two face-to-face classes this semester. Everyone wore their masks and did what they were supposed to do, so I felt okay.”
Jeremy Strickler, a professor in the political science department, received the first dose of the vaccine by utilizing no-waste lists, where he signed up to receive a dose that otherwise would have been thrown away.
When discussing how receiving the Covid vaccine felt emotionally, Strickler stated “I feel elated to have access to it, and I feel much more comfortable in the classroom. I’m happy it was as smooth as possible.”
For more information on when you could be eligible for the vaccine, check out the Tennessee Department of Health’s Website. To sign up for The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Waste list, check out the UTC Health Services Website.