Students experiencing COVID-19 vaccine side effects contemplate seeking accommodations


Illustration by Yunkyo Kim

Some Northwestern students sought accommodations from faculty so they could rest after the vaccine.

Anna Bock, Reporter

For concerns ranging from academics to athletics, some Northwestern students are requesting accomodations in the days following their second COVID-19 vaccine dose. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are normal, particularly for the second doses of Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna. Possible symptoms, including fatigue, headache and muscle pain, are indicative that the body is forming an immune defense to the virus.

After receiving the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, Weinberg freshman quarterback Carl Richardson said he experienced headaches and dizziness the following day. 

“The second dose was literally the sickest I’ve ever been in my entire life,” Richardson said. “I had a midterm and then I also had practice that day and I could barely stand.”

Richardson decided to still take his midterm exam and attend practice that day, though he said he felt his coaches and trainers would have been understanding if he had decided to take the day off. 

Many students like Richardson contemplated seeking accommodations from faculty so they could cope with the side effects of the vaccine. 

After Weinberg freshman Ruba Memon got her second Pfizer-BioNTech dose at the United Center in Chicago with her mother, she said she reached out to her professors for extensions. She said she wanted to be able to take care of herself and her mother while they experienced chills and dizziness.

“In asking for a chemistry lab extension, the professor was actually really accommodating,” Memon said. “She was like, ‘Woo-hoo, congrats on getting the vaccine,’ and she provided me with resources in case I needed help afterwards to catch up with the lab.”

McCormick sophomore Hannah Boruchov said she felt the brunt of the side effects beginning the first night following her first dose of the Moderna vaccine. 

Despite her nausea, fever and chills, Boruchov said she attended her classes the next day as she usually would out of fear she would fall further behind. 

“McCormick is so fast paced,” Boruchov said. “If I got an extension, I would also have a bunch of other work to catch up on. In my experience, getting midterm extensions is not easy, so I just didn’t bother asking.” 

Fortunately for Weinberg junior Josip Apostoloski, he felt minimal side effects aside from soreness in his shoulder after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine doses. However, Apostoloski said he shares similar hesitance in asking for extensions because of the stress of feeling behind. 

Apostoloski said he prioritized getting his vaccine as soon as he could, in hopes that he will be allowed to return home to North Macedonia this summer. Despite his friends’ experiences with side effects, he said he still believes NU students should get vaccinated.

“Vaccines are pretty much the only way that we, as a community, can remain safe and work our way back to a level of normal life, as we remember it before the pandemic,” Apostoloski said. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @anna__bock

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