Vaccine rollout sparks conversation between students, parents

Grace Robertson

Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the March 23 issue of The Daily Texan.

Almost overnight, dinner table conversations shifted from daily life updates to the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine human trials. Yasmine Daghestani and her family had to confront a decision.

“I was really down to sign up for the vaccine trials, but my mom was the one who was like, ‘No, don’t do that,’” plan II sophomore Daghestani said. “(My parents’) advice means a lot to me in terms of medical decisions.” 

Daghestani said when her family first heard about the vaccines, they were hesitant to endorse it. Although her parents wanted to see more evidence of the vaccine's safety and effectiveness, they have since received the Moderna vaccine. 

As the vaccine rollout accelerates, conversations between students and their parents that once revolved around COVID-19 safety precautions now center around receiving a vaccine. Some students and parents are making decisions together about if, when and how to receive the shot. 

Every time government junior Meredith Baranosky clocks into her waitressing shift, she wonders if it will be the shift where she might contract COVID-19. 

“It makes me very anxious,” Baranosky said. “At work, I can’t take off my mask at the station to have a drink of water or have a quick bite to eat without being stressed out.” 

Her parents both received the second dose of the Moderna vaccine in early March, but Baranosky said she hasn’t found the time to be vaccinated yet. 

“Her not being able to get vaccinated does worry us,” Baranosky’s father, Sammy Baranosky said. “(But) a philosophy (her) mother and I share is that we are here to prepare our children, not protect them.” 

Baranosky said her inability to get vaccinated has created additional strain in their relationship. 

“There’s been a little bit of tension between my mom and I,” Baranosky said. “Do I think it will concretely impact my relationship with my parents? No, but it has caused some stress.” 

Art history and history sophomore Drew Rappold said his father, sister and mother all received the vaccine in February in their hometown of Dallas, Texas. 

Because his classes are online, Rappold said he is less concerned about receiving a vaccine right away, but hopes to get vaccinated in the near future. 

“I got a text (from my mom) saying, ‘Can you be in Dallas at 5:30 tomorrow (to get vaccinated)?’ and I said no because I could not,” Rappold said. “I think they were perturbed by it because they worry about me not living with them.”

Drew’s mother Beth Rappold said that Rappold being unable to get the vaccine worries her. 

“I’m still sad about it,” Beth said. “He’s been the one I’ve been most worried about.” 

Students are navigating a new frontier in parent-child relationships as many of them coordinate vaccine-related appointments and conversations. 

“I’m going to make (Drew) drive up here if I can get the (vaccine) appointment, which he’s not worried about but I don’t care,” Beth said. “He just doesn’t worry like we do.”