Photo by Stephanie Swart
By Sally Kate Zaft, Staff Writer-
UTC recently decided to make Covid vaccines available for all students 18 and over following Hamilton County’s announcement that people over the age of 16 may receive a dose.
Dr. Christine Smith, chief health affairs officer, revealed why the county made the decision to reduce the age requirement.
“Access to vaccines has been opened up by many counties in the state,” Smith said. “With access to vaccines becoming more prevalent, it made sense to allow everyone in Hamilton County access as well.”
Vaccines have been offered by UTC in the recent past but with different requirements. The procedures will remain the same, but the vaccine will be offered to more people.
Smith shared information about the process of receiving the vaccines and how they plan to accommodate the larger population.
“Since we are allotted only a certain number each time we request the vaccine, it is not open access. An email will be sent out with a link several times for appointments, and members of the campus pick a time for them that is convenient,” Smith said. “We are able to request more vaccines each week, so we are adding more times to the appointment sign-up.”
Smith also talked about the staff they have working and administering the vaccine to students.
“We have a dedicated staff from the Routine Testing Center and University Health Services, who have been coordinating a great group of volunteers, so the clinics are running very smoothly,” Smith said. “So far, all comments have been extremely positive.”
The Health Center also sent out a survey to students to understand the hesitancy behind the vaccine. Students were asked why they are choosing not to receive the vaccine.
The majority of faculty, staff, and students expressed their concern about the vaccine not being safe. Many people also answered that receiving the vaccine was not necessary either.
Some of the uneasiness surrounding the vaccine stemmed from concerns like the little time it took to develop the vaccine. Some are also hesitant due to past experiences with other vaccines.
Looking beyond the survey data and at the actual turn out of the vaccines, Smith says it’s too soon to tell the success rate.
“With the Johnson and Johnson vaccine now available to us and it only requires one injection, we expect our students will take advantage of this opportunity and the number of students who are immunized to increase in the under 30 group,” Smith said.
Information regarding the administration of the vaccine on campus can be found here.