Graphic courtesy of Trinidy Charles.
KATIE DEAN | STAFF REPORTER | email@example.com
As the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine continues to increase, many younger Americans anticipate receiving the vaccine. For Hoosiers and Butler students, the wait is nearly over.
On Tuesday, March 23, Governor Holcomb announced that beginning on March 31, all Indiana residents 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Butler announced on Monday that there will be a vaccine clinic on campus open to all currently unvaccinated students.
The first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered to students between April 7-9 and the second dose will be available May 4-6. Out-of-state students and international students can also receive the vaccine.
Lauren Clearwaters, a sophomore health science major, said she was excited to see the age limit lowered to 16 and hopes to get the vaccine as soon as possible. With the university now offering the vaccine to students when their clinic becomes available, this adds to the list of places that Clearwaters can choose from to get her vaccine.
Since she lives in Indiana about an hour from campus, Clearwaters said getting the vaccine is now just a matter of finding an available appointment.
“I want to get the vaccine as soon as I can,” Clearwaters said. “When the state of Indiana makes it available to all people after March 31, I will try to make my appointment to get it in Indianapolis if they do that before it becomes available on campus.”
Butler will join other universities in Indiana who have announced they will have vaccine clinics on campus. One example is the University of Notre Dame which will begin offering the vaccine to students mid-April, with the doses provided by the Indiana Department of Health.
Camille Weiss, a sophomore psychology major, is from Des Moines, Iowa. Iowa recently expanded vaccine eligibility to individuals 16 and older with pre-existing medical conditions.
Since Weiss has asthma, she went home last week to receive her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Vaccine appointments in Des Moines fill up quickly, so Weiss and her mom scoured various websites all weekend long to find an appointment. As she was about to head back to campus unvaccinated, her mom was able to secure an appointment that Monday in a local grocery store.
Weiss is due for her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in mid-April and said she hopes she can receive her second dose here in Indianapolis. She is employed through the admissions office at Butler and said she plans to talk with Health Services to coordinate receiving the vaccine in Indianapolis to avoid having to drive all the way back home once again.
“I don’t have a second dose scheduled because I’m hoping that I’m able to get my second dose here,” Weiss said. “I technically live here part-time and I also work here at Butler, so I’m hoping I can get my second dose here.”
Sophia Thompson, a sophomore health sciences major, faces a similar challenge to Weiss, as she is from central Illinois. Thompson said she originally planned on receiving the vaccine in Illinois, after completing her EMT certification this summer to become a first responder. Now, considering Butler’s announcement, she is unsure if she would receive the vaccine through Butler or wait until she becomes EMT certified back home.
Thompson said she would like to receive a COVID-19 vaccine with two doses, since it has a higher efficacy rate than the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and coordinating her second dose back in Illinois might not be permitted.
Students like Weiss and Thompson highlight the complicated logistics and many layers that go into actually receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. While a few months ago students were asking when they would be eligible to receive the vaccine, now, it is a matter of how and where they will do so. Ultimately, these next few weeks will be a step in advancing the country to herd immunity and allowing students — Indiana residents or not — to get vaccinated before they return back home to their respective families and communities.