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Missouri Southern State University logo

Why We Are Vaccinated

Your COVID-19 vaccination is the key to our Lion community thriving on campus once again. Get vaccinated and let’s get back to normal. Call the Willcoxon Health Center or any local pharmacy to get the vaccine at no cost. Find out why getting vaccinated was important to these members of our Lion community:

Madison Nagel
Student, President of Omnicron Delta Kappa

“I’m ready to put Covid-19 behind us, and I know that for that to happen, everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated must do their part. I take pride in keeping my fellow lions safe.”

Bryan Goodwin
Physical Plant Director

“I got vaccinated for my retired parents that live next door to me and for my kids, but also for the students here on campus and the people that work around me.”

Mike Opfer
Staff Senate President

“I did it to protect my family and my coworkers. I said I would get vaccinated if the Johnson & Johnson became available because it was just the one and done. So I did.”

Renae Downs
Registered Nurse, Willcoxon Health Center

“No one wants COVID to be over more than healthcare workers. We’re sick of doing this. We’re sick of seeing people sick and we’re tired of doing the contact tracing that comes with it. I was on the fence too, initially. It’s a new vaccine. I was nervous. But for me, the risks of getting COVID were greater than the risks of getting the vaccine. For those who were hesitant in January, I encourage them to look at the data again. Millions of people have been vaccinated. We know more now, and this Delta variant is scary. It scares me for all our students who think they’re not going to get it. According to the American Medical Association, 96% of practicing physicians have been vaccinated. I feel like the reason they did it was science, not just for their communities and their duty to take care of people. The science is there. I work in the ER when I’m not at the health center. Wait times are 12 hours now, if you’re not there for COVID. So when someone comes in with a kidney stone, they’re going to sit there for 12 hours. I took care of a young person recently. He was healthy before he got COVID. He asked me if he was going to die. The truth was I didn’t know. If you live at home with your family and they’re not sick and your ‘bubble’ is safe, you have a false sense of security. It just takes one time. Once. COVID can make you or someone you love so sick. And they don’t get visitors in the hospital. If you have covid, you’re by yourself. It’s horrible. We don’t want to be doom and gloom at the health center, we just want to educate. The vaccine is everywhere now and it’s free.”

Dr. Dean Van Galen

“Getting vaccinated was an important action to protect myself and those around me at MSSU. Also, I viewed getting vaccinated as part of the collective effort our campus needs to safely return to the type of engagement and personal relationships that we all enjoy, and that benefit our students.”

Dr. Victoria Rhodes
Assistant Professor of Biology

"I teach immunology, biology and microbiology so I know a lot about vaccines and their history. I knew that RNA vaccines had been researched for quite a few years before the COVID vaccines came out. I read through the trial data and felt pretty confident in their safety. Historically speaking, when vaccines come out, disease severity drops off in populations. To me, getting the vaccine was a duty to protect other people around me.”

Denise "Momma D" Terry
Mayes Dining Hall Cashier

“I wasn’t going to get the vaccine at first. I haven’t even had a head cold since 2014. With my job though, I handle money and I give hugs, or I used to. I think that’s important no matter what virus comes around.

“So I had a sit-down with my doctor and asked him all of my questions. I decided that since I am in the demographic that it could be really dangerous if I got the virus, that to be safe I’d get vaccinated. Plus I knew it would give me more freedom. And the hugs are back.”

Atiba Bradley
Head Football Coach

“I did it not just to protect myself, but also to protect our student athletes and others around me. I’ve got kids, I’ve got a wife, I’ve got older parents, so it made sense for me.”

Robert McClellan
Dining Services Director

“My biggest reason for getting vaccinated is my wife was pregnant at the time. I didn’t want her to get sick, and I don’t know the effect on infants but I didn’t want to take any chances. There’s a lot of people in this area who aren’t taking precautions, and I wanted to protect myself and my family.”

Don Mihulka
Chief Information Officer, IT Administration

“I had COVID in January. I was out of the loop for almost a month. I was in the hospital part of that time and had a severe case of pneumonia. I still have a lingering cough. I’m typically pretty healthy— I exercise. I didn’t think I was going to get ill, but I did. My wife didn’t think I was going to make it.

“I came away from that thinking ‘what can I do and how soon can I do it’ to help prevent the spread of this. It convinced me that as soon as I could I would get vaccinated. I talked extensively to the director of the health center. I got the facts. www.mostopscovid.com is a great resource. I got vaccinated because I wanted to protect my family, my friends and my coworkers.”