Courtesy of Justin Xu

Pulling down his mask for a photo, senior Justin Xu smiles with his dog.

Justin Xu

Before his fellow classmates qualified for the COVID-19 vaccine, senior Justin Xu had already received his first dose. Xu was a volunteer with SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital prior to the pandemic, as well as a tutor at Kumon, and attributes his quick vaccination to these qualifications. 

“I was surprised and happy. Surprised because I qualified for the vaccine during early February and happy because I knew the vaccine would add an additional layer of protection when I’m outside,” Xu said. 

As a tutor, Xu’s job entails meeting with children to teach them about math and reading. However, prior to receiving his vaccine, Xu completed his responsibilities virtually. 

“Getting this vaccine was one of the main reasons that made me feel safe to work in-person,” Xu said. 

Xu did not experience any complications aside from slight soreness in his arm. He says receiving the vaccine took only a few minutes. 

“Although I knew the chances were low, I was afraid of experiencing the severe side effects that were noticed in other cases,” Xu said. “I would tell [my peers] that the benefits of getting the vaccine heavily outweigh any possible negative harms.”

As a result of the pandemic, Xu missed out on the opportunity to work as an intern at Washington University in St. Louis. Xu hopes that the rollout of the vaccine will allow him to experience this opportunity. 

“I was planning on doing research at a genetics lab at the WashU medical school to study bioinformatics and how computer science can be applied to cancer research. Since most people will be vaccinated by this summer, hopefully I can go in person,” Xu said.

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