The Alachua County Department of Health administered second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to some members of the Santa Fe College community Friday.
The event took place in Santa Fe’s gymnasium on the Northwest Campus from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Recipients were given their first dose Feb. 5, and in total, 235 people aged 65 or older were vaccinated at the first event, Director of Human Resources Lela Frye said.
“It was wonderful because people were so appreciative of the opportunity,” Frye said.
Among the recipients were employees, retirees, students and “the expanded SF family” — relatives of Santa Fe community members who live in the same household and meet the criteria for vaccination, she said.
In addition, about 20 faculty and students providing frontline patient care also received the vaccine, she said.
Santa Fe office receptionist Bonita Reddig, 73, said she got the vaccine to protect herself and her husband who had a liver transplant in 2000 that left him immunocompromised. He has since received both of his doses at UF Health Shands Hospital.
“I feel confident that everything is going to be okay now,” Reddig said. “Maybe we can meet with the grandkids again.”
Terry McMahan, 71, came with Donna Waller, 76, a retired Santa Fe political science professor. McMahan said he patiently waited to be eligible for the vaccine after the first doses were administered mid-December.
“It’s a greater sense of safety,” McMahan said.
Members of the UF Student Health Care Center at Santa Fe also showed up to bring awareness to the renovated facility. The center — which was rebuilt and reopened days before the pandemic closed campus in March 2020 — offers free services to college students who may typically be low-income, Dawn Blizzard, a program assistant, said. It has served five to 10 students a day, four days a week since August.
Santa Fe President Paul Broadie mingled with vaccine recipients and staff. Recipients bided their time with a paper-filling, phone-browsing and solitaire-playing observation period. Although some had never met Broadie before, they were eager to thank him as they left.
“We couldn’t be happier giving our employees the opportunity to be vaccinated against this dreadful pandemic and have some sense of safety and security,” he said.
Retired army military police Col. Bob Quint, a 67-year-old Santa Fe adjunct professor, lost his 91-year-old father to the virus Jan. 22. He contracted the virus from a doctor’s office and died within seven days, Quint said.
“This is not something that’s going to go away, it’s only going to get worse if we ignore it,” Jo Quint, Bob’s 66-year-old wife, said. “I would tell anybody that they need to get vaccinated. It’s not worth your life.” The couple, now married 44 and a half years, received their second doses Friday.
Santa Fe biology professor Greg Jones said the vaccine provides a safeguard for himself and his in-person students.“ A lot of them are apprehensive,” Jones, 61, said. “Anytime they feel a bit of a cough or a sniffle, they’re worried that they may contract the virus. It puts everybody on edge a little.”
Under 65 but with respiratory issues, Jones said he made administrators aware of his situation and was eventually able to schedule an appointment.
“Santa Fe’s always had a long tradition of taking care of their people,” Jones said. “It’s one of the things that makes working at Santa Fe as nice as it is.”
Contact Juliana Ferrie and Manny Rea at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow them on Twitter @juliana_f616 and @ReaManny.
Manny Rea is a journalism sophomore and the current health reporter for The Alligator. He worked as a copy editor in his freshman year before moving over to the Avenue in summer 2020. He likes to listen to dollar-bin records and read comics, and he is patiently waiting to go back to movies and concerts.
Juliana Ferrie is a second-year UF journalism student. She is excited to be working for The Alligator as the Santa Fe Beat reporter. In her free time, you can find her reading or listening to music.