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Butler student swaying father's opinion in COVID-19 vaccine debate

Aaliyah Coe, a second-year pharmacy student, has done her homework to convince her father to get vaccinated.

INDIANAPOLIS — The debate about just how safe is the COVID-19 vaccine is sometimes generational, like in the case of an Indianapolis dad and his daughter. 

But Aaliyah Coe's work as a pharmacy student is slowly winning over dad to her side of the debate.

The daughter used her own vaccine homework to show her father, Bryan, she's right and then did the unexpected and eventually shared her vaccination decision with dad after many talks about it.

"Well, the first conversation was him telling me not to take it," Aaliyah said.

Bryan Coe and daughter share the same smile. Aaliyah will proudly tell you herself she's a daddy's girl and that's one reason she's going out of her way to win their debate about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. 

"He didn't want me to take it," Aaliyah said. "He was kind of upset. I was, like, I have to take it."

Aaliyah wants her dad to take the vaccine, too, for his own safety. Bryan Coe is a local realtor whose job has always relied on meeting new people, referrals from existing customers and showing properties for sale. His industry and the job have all been impacted by COVID-19.

"Not meeting people face-to-face kind of caused a breakdown in the business. So I had to learn everything quite fast, because the world and everything changed so quick," he said.

Bryan also said that one of the reasons they are at odds about the safety of the vaccine is clearly due to their generational gap. 

"We are used to doing what our uncles and aunts tell us about new medicines and not to so easily trust those things," said Coe. He also talked about not having the knowledge about some things like the vaccine compared to his daughter's generation, who can learn at the push of a button. 

Aaliyah is in her second year at the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Butler University. When the pandemic hit, she and her classmates had to adjust their learning. Their college major is mostly hands-on and, like many other professions, they had to adjust classwork.

"We are doing half classes online and in person, so that helps," she said.

To help win her debate with her father, Aaliyah did her own research of every vaccine ingredient and explained why she believed the vaccine is safe.

"It's not live, so it can't hurt you," said Aaliyah. "So once it's injected into your system, what happens is your body starts creating antibodies which are just like little soldiers and once they recognize the virus they start attacking it."

Bryan also posted their father-daughter debate on the NextDoor app. He said he's truly proud of Aaliyah, which could also mean she's winning him over to taking the vaccine as she awaits her second shot. So far, she said she has not had any side effects or post-shot symptoms from the first dose she received. That may also help win her father over to joining her as a vaccine recipient.

"I am tipping over to the other side," Bryan said.

"Slowly but surely," his daughter replied.

Aaliyah is vaccination certified and plans to volunteer to give the vaccine to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.