Students go extra mile for vaccine


Kyle Hawley and Addie Brown

Fairfax County moved into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccination plan on April 18, making everyone 16 and older eligible to schedule a vaccine appointment, but a handful of Highlanders had already taken additional measures in order to obtain the vaccine sooner.
Some waited at vaccine sites for hours in hopes of getting leftover doses at the end of the day, while others drove long distances to secure immunizations.
Several students were able to get the vaccine at Same Day Testing in Tysons Corner. The drive-thru center allows for anyone to pull up and get in line for extra vaccines. Cars are directed to a parked line to wait until the testing center closes at 6 p.m. If there are any unused vaccinations, the first people in line will get their shot.
“I had to wait about three hours, but it was worth it. Same Day Testing in Tysons had a bunch of extra vaccines the day I went,” senior Anna Proctor said. “I was able to get my vaccination and so did a lot of other people as well.”
While Proctor was fortunate enough to get it on the first try, other students said they had to keep returning to Same Day Testing every day in hopes of finally receiving the injection. For two days in a row, senior Andrew Nelson waited for four hours but was unable to get vaccinated.
“I have spent a good part of my week waiting and ultimately failing to get my first dose,” Nelson said. “On the second day, I was so close to finally getting the vaccination until this random woman accused me of being unethical with my attempt of getting it over her. Apparently, the way I was parked was somehow signaling to the clinic I was ahead of the woman and her family in line.”
Other students traded long waits for long drives by finding vaccine centers in southern Virginia that were already open to all ages. Less populated areas of the state were able to move into Phase 2 weeks before Fairfax County could.
Junior Nicole Mallus took advantage of the availability of vaccines around Virginia and decided to kill two birds with one stone. While getting the Pfizer vaccine two hours outside of Blacksburg, she was able to see her sister at Virginia Tech.
“After finding availability on the Walgreens website, my mom signed me up and we drove down the next week,” Mallus said. “We drove for six hours to the Walgreens, got the first shot, and drove six hours back on the same day—28 days later, I did the same exact thing.”
While a majority of students have had the difficult task of obtaining their own injection, one student had the luxury of the vaccine being brought home to him.
“My father, who is a doctor, brought multiple vaccinations home for my family to use and personally administered it to me,” senior Khari Kingslow said.
After over a year of living through a pandemic, getting vaccinated means everyone is one step closer to returning to normalcy.
“The earlier I could get the vaccine, the earlier things would start to feel normal and safe,” Proctor said. “Even though my arm is a little sore, I feel so happy I got it.”