Vax to Normal featuring Emily McCollum
Emily McCollum, a senior social work major from Roanoke, Texas, watched her sister being college last year at another Texas institution. After seeing what her sister and last year's freshman classes around the country had as their introduction to college in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, McCollum made the decision to get vaccinated to be part of the solution to ensure the next incoming classes do not have to repeat a similar experience.
"It was very rough seeing her go through her first year in college completely isolated from everyone," McCollum said. "I want to be a part of helping the incoming freshmen have the amazing first year at Baylor they've been told about. No one should have to go through another year like my sister did."
McCollum is a member of the Faith in Vaccines Ambassador (FIVA) Gold Team, a group of students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences who made the decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
They now advocate for their peers and the Baylor campus community to do the same.
Like has been the case for many others, McCollum's decision to get vaccinated came with some uncertainty.
"I was hesitant at first," McCollum said. "After learning from hospital staff, I've decided that it is the best for my community that I be vaccinated. As a follower of Christ, I think that keeping others safe in this way is a practical form of loving others well."
McCollum received more information and did her own research, and her mind was made. "Accessibility was my only obstacle," she said.
COVID-19 vaccines are widely available and free of charge. Baylor students, faculty and staff are strongly encouragedto get vaccinated as soon as possible. All three vaccines recommended by the FDA – including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that received full FDA approval for ages 16+ – are currently available for students and employees at the Baylor Health Center. Appointments can be made online through the Health Portal.
All three of the vaccines have shown consistent ability to lessen symptoms, lower the viral load carried by infected individuals and help mitigate the risk of experiencing the most severe or even fatal results. Baylor has obtained ample supplies of all three vaccines, with individuals having the freedom to choose which vaccine they would like or to accommodate a certain option recommended by their physician.
A fully vaccinated campus community will help mitigate the risks of COVID-19 and allow students to enjoy all the traditions and events that embody the Baylor experience.
Fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff who complete the brief vaccination confirmation form will be exempt from twice-a-week testing and will not be required to enter quarantine protocol in the event of confirmed COVID-19 exposure.
McCollum and many of her peers made the decision to get vaccinated. Their decision helps allow for a normal fall with more in-person events and traditions, and they see it as an act of love and service to their community to "value others above yourselves" (Philippians 2:3).