FMU remains committed to ensuring the health and safety of its students throughout the continued struggle with COVID-19 by implementing vaccination clinics and vaccination participation drawings for the fall 2021 semester.
“It became very apparent that we needed to do what we could to ensure a safe environment for all of our students, our faculty and our staff,” John Sweeney, Vice President of Communications, said. “Given some of the restrictions on institutions of higher education through state provisos, we wanted to take a look at ways we could encourage students because we can’t require vaccinations, and so, this was an idea that we came up with to encourage students, all in the hopes of creating as safe of an environment to return to classes as possible.”
Deciding to provide clinics throughout the semester and create a vaccination participation drawing was not easy. It involved plenty of research and several meetings between administrators, but in the end, the goal for everyone was the same: to keep students, faculty and staff on campus safe.
“From the university’s standpoint, vaccinations are one of the best tools that we have to ensure a safe campus when it comes to COVID-19, especially the delta variant,” Sweeney said. We are just encouraging students to get vaccinated and making it as easy as possible for those who want to get vaccinated.”
One of the ways FMU decided to encourage students to get vaccinated is by awarding three students $1,000 each week until Nov. 16. To enter the raffle, students must turn in proof that they are fully vaccinated. Once entered, they are eligible to win in every drawing from now until the final one.
Each vaccination clinic will offer the Moderna vaccine, except for the clinic scheduled for Sep. 15, which will administer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Students will be able to plan their second dose after receiving their first. Although the CDC recommends waiting 28 days before another dose of the Moderna vaccine, FMU will offer it at each clinic.
“We recognize that not all of the students who get their first shot here will get their second shot at the next clinic,” Sweeney said. “If they go to Student Life and the COVID-19 Response Center, they can get help coordinating their second dose, or even their first dose, whether it is here on campus at one of our clinics or at a clinic elsewhere.”
The goal is to make the vaccination process as easy and painless as possible. Appointments are not mandatory for the FMU vaccination clinics; however, if students choose to receive the vaccine elsewhere, they may be required to make an appointment.
So far, the vaccination clinics have reached 60 people, but the hope is that they continue to grow.
“What we want to do is create as safe a campus environment as possible,” Sweeney said. “And that means making resources available to the faculty, the staff and the students as much as we can. We feel like these are the best ways that we can do that.”