First UW-Madison employees, students receive COVID-19 vaccine

Uw Vaccine

MADISON, Wis. —  The University of Wisconsin-Madison administered its first round of COVID-19 vaccines to eligible employees and students on Tuesday.

The vaccine was given to employees and students, such as Eden Charles, who work directly with COVID-19 patients and directly with the virus and virus samples.

Charles is a research coordinator for the University’s School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Emergency Medicine. She’s been helping with clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines and performs nasal swabs on patients as part of a study on rapid testing.

Charles remembers feeling excited and nervous when told she could get the vaccine, but felt the benefits outweighed potential side effects.

“I am hoping this pandemic is coming to an end this year and I feel like we are getting close to that,” Charles said. “That’s the exciting thing about today, being a part of it. The pandemic won’t be here forever.”

Josh Armbruster, a locksmith for University Housing, said he was eager to get the vaccine. He’s been working on campus during the spring and fall semesters.

“Housing became a ghost town without residents or staff, with a real uncertainty of what lay ahead,” he said.

Armbruster has also been tasked with turning buildings on campus into isolation units for students who test positive for the virus.

Nursing students, such as Allison Chang, said the pandemic has changed the way learning is done. Student nurses are getting their hands-on experience in smaller, limited groups and at fewer locations.

Change is a senior and will graduate in May. She said she is grateful she was vaccinated prior to the start of her final rotation in an ICU unit at a local hospital, where she will work primarily with COVID-19 patients.

“I’m definitely relieved to get the vaccine. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Although it doesn’t fix everything right away – people should still take precautions – it’s great to see this step forward,” Chang said.

UW-Madison has received 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine so far.

The Moderna vaccine is one of two in the United States currently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for use during the coronavirus pandemic. UW-Madison will continue to provide the vaccine as it is made available.

“We know it could be many more months before we can vaccinate all of our students and employees, but we are so glad to get this started today,” says Patrick Kelly, a physician and interim director of medical services at University Health Services.

“I hope this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic.”