NC State staffer Natasha Gaddy makes history as the first employee to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the university’s on-campus clinic.
The ballroom in Talley Student Union has been home to many events over the years, but none quite like the university’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
The things that have marked indoor spaces throughout the pandemic — plexiglass, floor signage, hand sanitizer and face coverings — are all present in the room. But the energy inside is different, and there are a lot more smiles behind masks.
Two smiles, in particular, marked the first day of the clinic’s operations.
Natasha Gaddy, medical records coordinator at NC State Student Health Services, received the first vaccine at 8:55 a.m. on March 24, with her mother, Pat Gaddy, assistant to the assistant vice chancellor in the Office of Information Technology and NC State Staff Senate chair, by her side.
“I’m still in shock, but it’s exciting,” Natasha says, moments after receiving her vaccine, the single-dose from Johnson & Johnson. “I wasn’t going to get one initially, because I was concerned about the side effects and just not knowing how it might impact my body.”
After doing some research — and with encouragement from her mother and coworkers — Natasha says she decided to get vaccinated to keep herself and others safe. She added that having her mother there with her made it an extra special occasion.
“It’s awesome to have her here today,” Natasha says. “My mom is my best friend and her support is unmatched.”
Sitting together in the hallway adjacent to the Talley ballroom, Pat and Natasha share their excitement for what the future might look like after the pandemic. Pat, who has already received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and currently works remotely, says she can’t wait to get back out into the world.
“I want my life back as much as possible,” she says. “I can’t wait to gather with my extended family, to go out and eat and visit with people more freely, to go to my church and just generally return to normal. I also really miss my coworkers — they’re like my other family. I miss the break room chats, hearing about how people are doing, and campus life overall.”
Natasha has worked on campus throughout the pandemic, and says she looks forward to seeing it return to life.
“My office at Student Health overlooks Harris Field,” Natasha says. “Before all of this, I’d look out and see students out there playing football, hanging out, laughing and just enjoying campus life without a worry in the world. I miss that, and I’m excited to see it again soon.”
A diehard fan of Wolfpack basketball, Natasha says she looks forward to attending games in-person again.
Pat and Natasha have served at NC State for 30 and nearly 20 years, respectively. Both said that having the vaccine available on campus is a great benefit, and they hope others will take advantage of the convenience.