Why I Vax
Faculty and staff from across Rutgers share their reasons for getting vaccinated and their thoughts on returning to a vibrant campus community.
"Most of all, I got the vaccine for you."
Nurse Practitioner, Student Wellness Center, Rutgers-Camden
My decision to get the vaccine wasn't for me.
It was for every person who didn't survive COVID-19 and get the opportunity to decline the vaccine.
It was to set an example for my brown and Black sisters and brothers who are hesitant.
It was for my children and grandchildren and yours.
It was for every patient I have diagnosed, isolated and quarantined.
It was to do my part to move us back – not to normal, but to better.
Most of all, I got the vaccine for you.
"So I can finally greet students, faculty and staff members face to face on active and humming campuses."
President, Rutgers University
There is nothing more important or effective for flattening the COVID-19 curve than getting a vaccine. Getting vaccinated is a matter of personal protection and is a public responsibility. And it is a requirement for all Rutgers students enrolling for the fall semester.
Vaccination is the path back to vibrant campus life at Rutgers. In addition to wanting to help protect my family and community from the virus, I got vaccinated so I can finally greet students, faculty and staff members face to face on active and humming campuses.
Vaccine availability is increasing almost daily, the shot was painless and the benefits are immeasurable. I’m glad that I’ve been vaccinated, and I urge everyone in the Rutgers community to get vaccinated as soon as they possibly can.
Thomas M. Stephens
Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Rutgers-New Brunswick
I got vaccinated for my students, my colleagues, my friends and my family, so that we can get back together soon. During lockdown I have missed the daily interactions, chats over lunch, coffee on campus and office meetings. The lack of these “social” events makes me appreciate how much we have to lose, including our lives. I am thankful for the chance to continue contributing and look forward to returning to a new normal.
"To ensure the safety of my special needs child, who is immunocompromised."
Support Services Coordinator, Office of Financial Aid, Rutgers-Newark
I decided to get vaccinated because I lost a good friend and two family members to COVID-19. It was a very hard thing to go through. Not being able to be with my loved ones when they needed me was the most devastating part of COVID-19. I do not wish this on anyone.
I also did it to ensure the safety of my special needs child, who is immunocompromised, and my older sister, who is diabetic and obese. For the past year, I have been living in fear of getting infected because of their well-being.
The COVID-19 vaccine has offered me hope and a way to protect my family, friends, coworkers and the students I serve. It is the right thing to do for the safety of our community.
"I believe it is part of my responsibility as a mother, a teacher and a coach."
C. Vivian Stringer
Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Rutgers-New Brunswick
I chose to vaccinate because I believe it is part of my responsibility as a mother, a teacher and a coach. I have been part of a team most of my life, whether it’s on the basketball court, with my family or with young students teaching them how to make an impact on this world. Vaccinating against this virus shows my team and family that I’m committed to not only keeping myself healthy, but that we also have a duty to each other to do the right thing and make our community as safe as possible. Kindness, thinking of others and working toward a common goal is the best way to return to the things we love. I look forward to the day we can embrace each other without fear of illness, and to the day thousands can pack the RAC and support our Scarlet Knights. Join my team and we can reach this goal together.
"I believe it is incumbent on everyone to trust the science and get the vaccine."
Executive Assistant, Department of Neurosurgery, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
My uncle passed away early on in the pandemic from COVID-19. I witnessed firsthand the devastation COVID-19 can cause. I jumped at the opportunity to get the vaccine when I was eligible. As someone working toward a master’s in biomedical sciences, I believe it is incumbent on everyone to trust the science and get the vaccine.
"I feel it a moral and ethical responsibility to do my part."
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, New Jersey Medical School
I was the site principal investigator for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine study at New Jersey Medical School, and it was great to be part of such a big undertaking and to then be able to take the vaccine myself. It was important for my health and the safety of my family's health since I was the one most likely to be exposed to it. On a larger scale, I feel it a moral and ethical responsibility to do my part in helping control the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Because it takes a community to bind together to protect our most vulnerable members."
Veterinarian and Associate Director, University Laboratory Animal Services
I vax for my babies, both current and future, because they cannot be vaccinated and I need to protect them as best I can. As a mom planning on more children, I am confident that this vaccine is my best chance to reduce the risk of bringing the virus home, allowing me to protect my family. I vax for my family, friends and strangers alike, because it takes a community to bind together to protect our most vulnerable members. It is our love of fellow man that should compel us to do our part and get the vaccine when our name is called.
"I was completely convinced of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccination from the very beginning."
Robert L. Johnson
The Sharon and Joseph Muscarelle Endowed Dean, New Jersey Medical School
Interim Dean, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
I became well aware of how severe the illness associated with COVID-19 was because in my medical practice I was treating adolescents who had become infected. I was the second person in New Jersey to receive the vaccination as soon as it was available. Due to my work, I was at high risk for infection and did not want to bring it home to my family. I was completely convinced of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccination from the very beginning.
In addition to ensuring that my household was vaccinated, I have been an outspoken advocate for the vaccination, working to convince my patients and others in the community that the vaccine is safe and highly effective.
"So my children can go to school safely and the cycle of disruptions to their education can end."
Managing Editor, Rutgers Today
I vax so my children can go to school safely and the cycle of disruptions to their education and periodic quarantines can end.
I've spent the last year juggling work while my daughter, who is in first grade, does her schoolwork on Zoom downstairs. When our schools open for in-person instruction, she ends up having to shift back to remote learning within a few weeks due to positive cases in her class or in the aftercare program. Her younger brother has to quarantine with her, missing out on pre-kindergarten.
I worry about the toll this year is going to take on their education, but I also worry about the emotional toll the last year has taken on all parents who are dealing with the same situation. The sooner we can all get vaccinated, the sooner schools can get back to normal for our children.
"Because my mother is a physician, my fiancé is in medical school and I trust the doctors in my life!"
Administrative Coordinator, Center for Pre-College Programs, Rutgers-Newark
I got vaccinated because my mother is a physician, my fiancé is in medical school and I trust the doctors in my life! I firmly believe in science and the good behind vaccines and I don't want my future children to grow up in a world where COVID-19 is still a real threat.
"To protect those who are vulnerable and can’t be vaccinated themselves."
Director of Communications, Marketing and Public Relations, Office for Research
I vax for my family and my community. I have seen how COVID-19 can break down even the strongest among us and I can’t bear to see anyone else suffer. I vax because it’s my responsibility as a mother, wife, friend and coworker, and to protect those who are vulnerable and can’t be vaccinated themselves.
"Because I trust the science and know that the vaccine is much safer than contracting the virus."
Oscar Holmes IV
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, Associate Professor of Management, Rutgers-Camden
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented harm and loss to so many communities. The COVID-19 vaccine is important to me because it gives me hope that there is light at this end of this dark tunnel. I chose to get vaccinated because I trust the science and know that the vaccine is much safer than contracting the virus and because I cannot wait to reconnect again with my family, friends, colleagues and strangers in a way that is safe. I’m glad I can do my part to keep us all safer and I encourage others to get vaccinated to do their part as well.