Caraway chose vaccination to protect community

· 3 min read

Caraway chose vaccination to protect community

Carissa Caraway
Carissa Caraway

Nebraska’s Carissa Caraway is among the growing number of Huskers who have made a personal choice to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The junior biochemistry major has received her second shot. Now, she’s waiting the two weeks before the protection becomes fully effective and making plans to visit family and friends who also opted to be vaccinated.

“Getting vaccinated offers yourself protection,” Caraway said. “And it also offers protection for those around you.”

University of Nebraska–Lincoln students, faculty and staff not yet vaccinated can opt in via an on-campus clinic offered 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 20. The clinic, organized through the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, will offer the Pfizer vaccine and be held in the Coliseum.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccination makes it less likely for Caraway and others to get COVID-19. It also reduced the chance an individual can become seriously ill with the virus.

The CDC has also declared it safe for fully vaccinated people to travel within the United States as long as they follow COVID-19 precautions. That means that Caraway will soon be able to safely travel home to Minnesota for the first time since winter break.

As an out-of-state student, Caraway faces homesickness each semester — and being unable to visit family members frequently due to the pandemic has increased her desire to spend time with family. Caraway’s family welcomed a new baby a few months ago, and she has particularly missed being able to see and snuggle her littlest nephew.

“I just wasn’t able to see him so much and it hurt so bad,” Caraway said. “Hopefully this summer I get a lot of time to go home and spend time with all of them.”

Along with being Aunt Carissa in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Caraway is excited to be Husker Carissa to her family during future visits to Nebraska. Her grandpa has been an avid Husker fan and she can’t wait to make new memories at football games this fall.

And, after spending half of her sophomore year and her whole junior year in a pandemic, Caraway is itching for a normal senior year at Dear Old Nebraska U.

“I have been doing everything I can, you know — following every guideline, getting myself vaccinated — because I know what it was like pre-pandemic going to school here and I loved it so much,” Carissa said. “I want to end my time here like that.”

Expanded availability of the vaccine and the growing number of those who are getting the shots have Caraway hopeful for the future. And, personally, she is grateful to have received the vaccine to protect herself and the rest of the Husker community.

“When it came to my decision to get vaccinated myself, I really felt like it was not just a decision that was going to affect my health but also the health of my friends and family and the people around me — and also the health of my community overall,” Caraway said. “I feel like I have some personal responsibility.”

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