Freya Nelson – Staff Writer
According to Minneapolis WCCO, over 25 percent of Minnesotans are fully vaccinated, with more than 40 percent of Minnesotans having already received at least one dose of a vaccine. In a race towards achieving herd immunity, Governor Tim Walz recently released the new vaccine qualifications; which include all Minnesotans 16 years of age and older. A campus-wide email was distributed last Thursday regarding when Gusties can begin to get vaccinated.
“Gustavus Health Service hopes to begin providing COVID-19 vaccine for all students in the very near future. We will be prioritizing those with underlying health conditions and students who currently work as an essential employee (as defined by the state of MN),” Director of Health Service Heather Dale said.
Dale invites students to fill out the survey in order to expedite the process of distributing vaccines directly to students.
“Completing the survey indicates that you are interested in the vaccine and ensures that we can contact you for registration purposes when vaccine opportunities are available,” said Dale.
Students who completed the survey were invited to a vaccination clinic which took place on Thursday, April 8. The clinic was set up in the Don Roberts Ice Arena, and was similar to mass flu vaccination clinics Gustavus has hosted in the past.
“It is possible that we could get a large quantity of vaccine and proceed in distributing to the campus similar to our flu clinics,” Vaccine Coordinator Jessica Braun said back in late February.
This is exactly what happened. Gustavus health services was allotted a number of Janssen (also known as the Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines, and offered appointments to those who filled out the vaccine interest form. Students unable to get an appointment for the April 8 clinic should not worry, as more vaccines are anticipated.
Gustavus is distributing vaccines entirely free of charge for students and staff.
“The vaccine is provided free of charge by the federal government. Health care organizations may ask for insurance information to cover costs of administering the vaccine (common with all vaccines), but they will not collect those fees from individuals without insurance,” Braun said.
According to Minneapolis WCCO, the recent extension of vaccine qualifications is part of Tim Walz’s attempt to curb the effects of rapidly increasing COVID cases. With Minnesota reporting COVID numbers of over 2,000 cases per day, the state is doing as poorly as it was back in January of 2021.
“On Friday [April 2, 2021], Minnesota became one of the top hot-spots for new cases in the country. According to the Center for Disease Control, the state is seeing a seven-day case rate of nearly 200 per 100,000 residents, which is the tenth highest in the country. Officials have linked the recent surge in cases to the U.K. variant of the virus,” Minneapolis WCCO reported over the weekend.
In terms of continuing to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Gusties getting vaccinated is a significant step in the right direction.
“Thank you for continuing to do your part to keep our campus safe. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines or are looking for information about MN vaccination sites please visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Resource page. Please remain physically distant, mindfully close and socially just,” Dale said.