BenU Emphasizes Importance of the Vaccine


Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Photos

Sara Molina – Staff Writer

Director of Alumni, Dr. Jon-Pierre Bradley, hosted “Discussing the Facts and Dispelling Untruths About the COVID-19 Vaccine” on April 8 via Zoom.  The panel’s guest speakers included students, staff, and alumni who have experience with the COVID vaccine.

The panel began with an introduction of all speakers. Associate professor Dr. Susan Cheng is the chair of Public Health and previously worked in pandemic preparation for eighteen years. Fellow associate professor Dr. Jeffery Trask is also Board of Share for Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.

Alumni included Aleta Hawkins, a physician’s assistant in Edward-Elmhurst Walk-In Clinic and Ayai Aytie, a medical laboratory scientist and medical technologist.

Keewaun Stokes, BSU Faculty and Staff Liaison, was the student speaker.

After introductions, the panel moved to answer attendees’ questions about the vaccine.  Questions included which vaccine is the better option.

“All three are highly effective,” said Dr. Cheng, “You get the first one you get an appointment for.  The faster we get to heard immunity, which is about 70-75% of the population being vaccinated, the faster we get back to our post-COVID life where we get to be on campus, we get to see our friends.”

The panel also answered why many are concerned about getting the vaccine. Dr. Trask explained that this concern comes from mistrust in the healthcare system and myths, such as Bill Gates microchipping the vaccinated.

Ayite, however, explained that his team is one of many that works tirelessly to ensure that the vaccine follows all guidance and safety measures to be administered.  Ayite also encouraged others to listen to professionals in healthcare instead of social media.

With the vaccine becoming more accessible, Benedictine became a vaccination site this semester. The proposal was sent back in December and, thanks to a partnership with Metro Infection Disease Consultants, the Goodwin lobby has been approved as a vaccination site.

“MIDC orders the vaccine.  They store the vaccine because Pfizer needs to be stored at cold temperatures.  They transport the vaccine on campus and then they thaw it and mix it.  And then, all the people that run the vaccine are volunteers,” said Dr. Cheng, “We have volunteers who are great and a lot of them are students… It’s really impressive that we can administrate a thousand of vaccines a day considering that all of the efforts are all volunteer work.”

Any students interested in volunteering for the vaccination site may contact Marco Masini at MMasini@ben.edu.