Mustang News surveyed a random sample of 422 students and an overwhelming majority of respondents selected Pfizer as their first choice for the COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna as their second choice and Johnson and Johnson as their third choice.
Out of the 422 Cal Poly students who were surveyed, only 36 of those students (8.6%) chose Johnson and Johnson as their first choice for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Architecture freshman Andrew Selle was one of the few students who preferred the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Apart from not having to get a second COVID-19 shot, Selle did not experience any severe symptoms from his shot besides a slightly sore arm.
“I just did some shoulder and back exercises that day as a part of the workout that I did after my vaccine,” Selle said. “I had absolutely no symptoms which was surprising for just one shot, but I also take vaccines relatively well and have never had any issues with them.”
Two weeks after students get their final vaccine (the second shot for Moderna and Pfizer, the first for Johnson and Johnson), they have the option to submit a picture of their vaccination card online which permanently excuses them from on-campus testing. Selle said that he is glad he got J&J rather than having to wait longer with Pfizer or Moderna.
“I really want us as a population and in the U.S. to reach this threshold where we do not have to use masks in grocery stores or restaurants anymore and be able to get back to full capacity,” Selle said. “I live for the day that I do not have to wear a mask.”
Architecture freshman Avery Vuong received the J&J vaccine as well and only had a minor headache and some chills that went away after taking so Tylenol. Vuong said it is important to get the vaccine to keep others safe.
“I think it contributes to public safety as a whole and it just shows that you care about the people around you and you want them to be healthy as well,” Vuong said.
In the same survey, only 80 students (19%) out of the 422 wanted the Moderna vaccine as their first choice.
Physics junior Jordan Lam received the Moderna vaccine because of his on-campus job at Campus Market. Lam said that he is glad to be fully vaccinated because it gives him more resistance to COVID-19, but is still a bit worried.
“I have a lot of family back home that could be at risk and I do not really want to be the one that is infecting them,” Lam said. “It is nice knowing that the chance of that happening is a lot lower.”
Lam said he thinks that people prefer the Pfizer vaccine over the others because the J&J vaccine got recalled due to health issues.
Architectural engineering sophomore Matthew Chung got his Moderna vaccine through work as well and said getting his second dose granted him some peace of mind.
“Even though it is not as bad up here [in San Luis Obispo] anymore, just having that second dose and being very close to immune is a nice comfort, especially when I am at work and interacting with a lot of people and have two in-person classes.”
Chung had chills and said he “felt sick” after receiving the second shot.
“I would say the symptoms were pretty mild,” Chung said. “I just slept through it and drank a lot of water.”
Architectural engineering sophomore Sasha Padilla received what 306, or 72.5% out of the 422 students surveyed wanted — the Pfizer vaccine. Padilla compared the feeling of getting her vaccine to going to Disneyland.
Padilla said that she had never gotten a headache before in her life until the day after her second dose when she felt numerous symptoms of the vaccine.
“I was asking myself if this is what a headache felt like because I had never gotten one before,” Padilla said. “My whole body was sore and I just wanted to lay in bed all day.”
Padilla said that she is still going to wear a mask and social distance despite being fully vaccinated.
“It is a very low probability that you will get the virus once you are fully vaccinated, but you can still transmit it,” Padilla said. “It also feels way too soon to not be wearing a mask because I feel like it is a safety blanket for me.”
Physics sophomore Sid Gamoji received the Pfizer vaccine and said that he has seen memes about the different COVID-19 vaccines such as “Pfizer gang” being cooler than “Moderna gang.”
“The COVID-19 vaccine is on the forefront of everybody’s mind right now,” Gamoji said. “People differentiating between the vaccines and making jokes about it is just a way to cope with it.”
Gamoji said that he does not feel relieved about getting the vaccine because it will still be a long time before he gets to go back to doing normal activities.
“It was more just one of those things that you have waited for for so long that finally happens, but you waited so long that it does not feel like a real accomplishment,” Gamoji said. “It is just more like another step towards the end.”