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Kayla Foy '21 is among the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19

As the country, and world, waits expectantly for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, one of Friends’ Central’s own students was among the first to receive the much-needed vaccine. Senior Kayla Foy was a vaccine trailblazer when her ties to the medical community gave her the opportunity to help promote vaccination.

As the country, and world, waits expectantly for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, one of Friends’ Central’s own students was among the first to receive the much-needed vaccine. Senior Kayla Foy was a vaccine trailblazer when her ties to the medical community gave her the opportunity to help promote vaccination.

Kayla, who has wanted to be a medical professional for as long as she can remember, has been volunteering with the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium (BDCC) since the beginning of the pandemic. She was first introduced to the BDCC on her 17th birthday in April 2020, during the early days of the pandemic. Her father, Dr. Reginald Foy who specializes in Anesthesiology, was part of the Consortium and wanted to share the experience with his daughter. Initially, the BDCC was focused on figuring out how to manage procedures surrounding data collection. Kayla said that she was spending upwards of 12 hours a day working with the team. Kayla’s primary role has been to help collect demographic information from those that are coming for testing. She has had to take some time away from the project since School started back up in the fall, but she plans to base her Senior Project on the experience. 

The Mission of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, as stated on its website, is “Education and Advocacy for African Americans to reduce the incidence of disease and death from coronavirus." The BDCC was created from a need to address the reality that African Americans are being diagnosed with and dying from coronavirus at a higher rate than other groups.

Kayla describes some of the people in the communities BDCC reaches as feeling that they have been forgotten by society. Getting a COVID test typically requires insurance, access to the registration system, and access to the testing location. These three requirements are hard to meet for underserved areas. The BDCC provides walk-in, barrier-free testing at mobile COVID-19 testing sites.  

When she was vaccinated as a BDCC volunteer, Kayla was featured on multiple news outlets for her important role in encouraging everyone to get the vaccine. Kayla said she felt fine after the first dose and tired after the second. The negative side effects, she said, are heavily outweighed by the freedom and safety of knowing that she is vaccinated. She noted that many people her parents' age seem to be hesitant about the vaccine, and she feels that education is the number one way to combat this fear. “Especially because MRNA is a new type of vaccine, people are hesitant, but once you understand how vaccines work, you no longer have that fear,” she said.

Kayla says that the part she enjoys most as a BDCC volunteer is, “meeting so many lively people.” She said that she has seen five-year-olds who handle the nasal swabs better than some full-grown adults. “People don’t like things being stuck up their nose!” she laughed.

Kayla is currently taking a plethora of advanced science and math classes at Friends’ Central, including Biology, Physics, and Calculus. She also enjoys her Modern European History class with Dr. Graham, and finds her Woodworking class with CJ Keller “so relaxing.” Kayla has applied to many colleges across the states and is excited about all of her prospects. She’d like to go to school outside the tri-state area because “there is so much more to explore,” she said. She is determined to continue on to a career in medicine and is thinking about going into orthopedics or pediatrics. 

You can see her full interview on 6ABC here

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