Kaylee Watson

Fulfilling her part to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) student Kaylee Watson jumped at the chance to get the vaccine.

“There’s a direct correlation — more people who get vaccinated means less people will die and get COVID-19, and I want to be part of the population that protects America,” said the aspiring physician from South Florida, who received her doses in late December and early February. “I’m now walking with my shoulders a little further back and have less anxiety.”

Waiting to start her core rotations, Kaylee volunteers at Cleveland Clinic Florida, providing research and shadowing physicians. She was shocked and appreciative when offered the vaccine and recorded a video after each dose to lessen people’s fear. “I don’t want people to be scared if they have some sort of reaction from the vaccination. I want to help educate them.”

A vaccine forces a person’s immune system to create antibodies against a specific disease, usually with a dead or weakened form of the germs. The immune system then knows what to do if the body contracts the actual disease. Information about the COVID-19 vaccine can be found on the CDC website.

Vaccine After-Effects

“It felt like I got punched in the arm 100 times and was fighting the flu for 24 hours and that’s it,” described the 22-year-old student after receiving the first dose. She experienced chills and body aches after the second dose but said it was comparable to previous vaccine reactions, finding relief with over-the-counter acetaminophen.

The outdoor enthusiast enjoys med school and said it has forced her to become self-disciplined and self-motivated. “I remind myself every single day why I’m doing what I’m doing and it’s rewarding.” Kaylee hopes to practice neuro critical care, but for now, she’s concerned with the health and welfare of her classmates.

“We need to have more access to the vaccine, and it needs to become a little less complicated to receive… I think 2021 is the year for us. I want all my Rossies to be protected.”  

About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Please note — RUSM does not have the authority or access to provide vaccines directly to students. The prioritization and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is being determined by local governments and healthcare facilities. For those students who are offered the opportunity through their clinical site, we strongly encourage you to get the vaccine. 

Road to Residency Library

The Road to Residency: Navigating the Student Journey series is designed to provide you with thought-provoking pieces on topics important and relevant to your medical school journey. Please visit our Road to Residency library.

If you have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please share your feedback with us.

In 2020, 91% of RUSM students passed the initial step of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) on the first attempt. And in 2022-2023, results show yet another strong year for RUSM with a 97% first-time residency attainment rate* thus far. Located on the island of Barbados and with a network of more than 15,000 alumni, RUSM is one of the largest providers of doctors for the U.S. healthcare system. RUSM graduates practice in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico.

*First time residency attainment rate is the percent of students attaining a 2023-24 residency position out of all graduates or expected graduates in 2022-23 who were active applicants in the 2023 NRMP match or who attained a residency position outside the NRMP match.