College Students Among Last on List for COVID Vaccines

College and university students are low on the list to receive COVID-19 vaccines, according to recent estimates.Unless students are classified as essential workers — such as medical, nursing, medtech or student teachers — or have a health condition — such as human immunodeficiency virus or cancer — they are not likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine until at least April, Imani Bell, a senior at the University of Delaware. (Courtesy of Bell)“I hope that the rollout starts to pick up and that everyone has access,” said Bell. “It doesn’t make sense that we’ve been in this pandemic for a year and it’s still taking so long. It’s frustrating to me that there are [few] companies making the vaccine when it could go so much faster.” More Universities to Close After Thanksgiving Colleges tell students to stay on campus or go home, but not both While it would “be ideal,” Taylor said, to have campus-based vaccinations, vaccinating students near campuses would suffice.  “And I would hope that schools will do a good deal of advertising about where those locations are, make them convenient for students and also give a lot of information about the vaccine,” she said.  Taylor argues that vaccinating students before they leave campus and travel home would be a huge help to stopping the spread of the coronavirus by college students who routinely go between school and home into the community.  Colleges Closing Quickly as COVID-19 Cases Rise Thanksgiving will end the semester for more schools “We all, students included, still have to pay strict attention to wearing masks, physically distancing, avoiding crowds and washing hands, all of those public health measures that we have had in place throughout still need to be put in place,” she said.  There have been nearly 400,000 coronavirus cases on more than 1,900 college and university campuses since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago, according to the most recent tracking data from the New York Times. At least 90 students have died of coronavirus-related complications. Joshua Goodart, a 22-year-old student at University of New Haven in Connecticut, died from coronavirus on February 6, the Hartford Courant reported. While Goodart had asthma, he was not considered high-risk for COVID-19 complications.But some college students say they’re wary of coronavirus vaccinations. A study conducted at Eastern Connecticut State University of 592 graduate and undergraduate students showed that about half of students surveyed said they would get the vaccine, and half would not or remained uncertain. Institutions of higher education are debating whether to require students to be vaccinated before returning to school, raising legal questions. “Many colleges and universities can and do require that students be vaccinated against certain diseases,” such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and meningococcal disease, said Suzanne Rode, a counsel at Crowell & Moring, a law firm in San Francisco.  “The COVID-19 vaccines differ in that they have been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration under an Emergency Use Authorization, making the vaccines available sooner than they normally would due to the current public health emergency,” she explained. Other challenges for not getting the vaccine might include “valid medical, disability, and sincere religious reasons can serve as a basis for declining the vaccine,” said Rode. International students will be eligible for the vaccine as other students in their priority group, former Surgeon General Jerome Adams confirmed in December. Specific vaccination guidelines for those living, working and studying in the U.S. can be found on the government websites of the states where they reside. Some international students are deciding whether to receive the vaccine in the U.S. or in their home countries. Nogués plans to get his dose of the vaccine wherever it becomes available first. “From what I know, it is very likely that I will get it in the U.S. before I get it in Spain because the rollout in Spain has been slower than a lot of European countries,” Nogués said. Benjamin Akande, president of Champlain College in Vermont, says that college and university leaders have a duty to protect the health of international students on campus during this pandemic.“Coming to the college in the U.S. today is a life and death decision, and we need to recognize that,” said Akande, who came to study in the U.S. from Nigeria in 1979. “It’s a very conscious decision and therefore, there’s a responsibility on leaders of academies to ensure the safety and health care of students.” 

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