UD students line up for first COVID-19 vaccine clinic

University of Dayton senior Alexandria Bennett doesn’t care much for needles but said she was happy to get her COVID-19 vaccination on Sunday during a vaccination clinic for students at UD Arena.

“It kind of puts an end to the chaos in the world. It feels like the closing of the chapter of the pandemic,” said said Alexandria Bennett, 22 of Pickerington, a senior communication arts major at the University of Dayton. “It just feels like the ending and the beginning of the world getting back to how it used to be.”

University of Dayton partnered with Premier Health and Miami Valley Hospital for the clinic.

“We vaccinated 1,116 people today. A few of those were employees. When it looked like we would have unused doses, we opened it up this afternoon to employees,” said Cilla Shindell, UD spokeswoman.

Katherine Kohnen, 21, a junior from Dayton studying pre-med/psychology, also was vaccinated and said she was excited to get it done and be a part of helping the nation reach herd immunity.

Credit: Lynn Hulsey

Credit: Lynn Hulsey

She said she had been volunteering at vaccine clinics and found it “inspiring to work with all these medical professionals,” especially since she plans a career in medicine.

Kohnen and Bennett said most of the students they know want to get the shots and are looking forward to returning to normal life. An outbreak on campus at the beginning of the year drove home the need to follow safety protocols, said Kohnen.

“Just thinking about all the people that you love and all the people in your life is really like just a good incentive to go get the vaccine,” Bennett said.

Credit: Lynn Hulsey

Credit: Lynn Hulsey

The state allocated 2,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine to UD and officials had originally estimated about 900 of the university’s 11,677 students would get shots during Sunday’s vaccination clinic. Students sat in socially distanced chairs all around the outer hall of the arena as medical staff with rolling carts went around the arena vaccinating them.

Nationally, by Sunday 23.1 percent of Americans age 18 to 29 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A walk-in clinic is likely to be scheduled for later in the week and students are also free to get vaccinated at any other location they choose, Shindell said.

She said the university is operating on a hybrid model, with every student having at least one class with in-person meetings.

“About 30 percent of all course offerings are offered remotely, primarily due to classroom space restrictions,” Shindell said.

Those who are vaccinated will need to continue safety protocols, including wearing masks and social distancing, said Dr. Steven Burdette, medical director of infection prevention at Miami Valley Hospital.

There were 1,800 new cases of coronavirus reported on Sunday in Ohio, bringing the state’s total to 1,039,455 cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

“People are still sick and people are still dying with COVID,” said Burdette.

While all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S. are safe and highly effective, Burdette said “no vaccine is 100 percent effective.” More than 4.1 million Ohioans have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Credit: Lynn Hulsey

Credit: Lynn Hulsey

“Students need to be careful,” said Dr. Mary Buchwalder, medical director at UD’s Student Health Center. “They could be asymptomatic and infect someone else.”

Getting the single-dose vaccine now will be easier for students because they won’t have to get a second shot right around finals time, and they will be able to return home this summer fully vaccinated, she said.

Buchwalder said she had feared a spike associated with St. Patrick’s Day festivities but cases were up only slightly and most students appear to be following the rules.

“The more people get vaccinated, the more we reduce the virus circulation and the more we protect people,” Buchwalder said. “And we reduce the chance of new variants developing.”

COVID-19 vaccine facts
The three vaccines approved for use in the U.S. are safe and effective.
Side effects after vaccination are normal and very rarely serious.
Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses and Johnson and Johnson requires one.
You are fully vaccinated two weeks after the final shot.
Fully vaccinated people should wear a mask and socially distance in public.
Fully vaccinated people can visit vaccinated people indoors without a mask.
Fully vaccinated people can visit one household of unvaccinated people indoors without a mask unless someone is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Fully vaccinated people should avoid medium or large gatherings.
Fully vaccinated people can travel on domestic flights without having to be tested or quarantine.
It is unknown how long vaccines protect people.
It is unknown if vaccinated people can spread COVID-19 to others even if they have no symptoms.
It is unknown how well the vaccines protect against the variants now spreading in the U.S.
Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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