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With three weeks to go before the close of classes, the University of Iowa beginning next week will host a series of on-campus COVID-19 vaccination clinics for students.
The UI on Friday unveiled its plans to incentivize vaccination by offering students a one-time $10 Iowa City Downtown District gift card to those who produce a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination card and student ID at the Iowa Memorial Union beginning Friday.
The first clinic planned for April 21-22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the IMU will offer registrants the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — which requires two doses spaced three weeks apart, unlike the recently paused Johnson & Johnson option that necessitated just one.
UI Student Health will hold a follow-up clinic at the IMU on May 13-14 for the second dose. Given that finals week is May 10-14, administrators are advising students “consider their class and final exam schedule” when arranging their second doses, which will happen when they get their first.
Although the vaccinations are free, students must first complete a COVID-19 immunization survey that will send an email to the student with directions on how to sign up for a time slot.
“Many time slots will be available, so friends should be able to sign up for the same time and attend together, if they wish,” according to a UI communication Friday.
Because individuals must get both doses from the same provider, UI administrators are stressing the need for students to consult their finals schedule or to book an appointment at Student Health during the following week — May 16-21.
Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa this week hosted on-campus vaccination clinics — as did Cornell College in Mount Vernon.
All three of Iowa’s public universities have promised a return to more traditional college operations in the fall. Although masks and social distancing still could be required, state Board of Regents President Michael Richards this week announced the campuses won’t mandate vaccination or proof of vaccination in the fall.
Grinnell College on Wednesday announced it will. Other private colleges and universities told The Gazette they’re either still deciding whether to mandate the vaccine or won’t — although they’ll encourage it.
To get the $10 gift card, UI students must have had both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson option — which has proved effective against COVID-19, despite concerns it caused blood clotting in several patients.
Students unable to get a vaccine for medical or religious reasons are eligible to get a gift card too. They’ll need to visit the Office of the Dean of Students, 135 Iowa Memorial Union, to obtain an exception.
Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.
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