Xavier connects students and faculty to vaccination opportunities

BY: Erin Albright, Staff Writer

As of today, all Xavier students are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the state of Ohio, and the university is currently working to help students and faculty receive their shot.

Chair of the COVID-19 Task Force Jeff Coleman explained that the university is not administering vaccines itself.

“The university has partnered with TriHealth, the city Health Department, and Kroger to administer the shot at the Cintas Center,” Coleman said. 

Cintas Center recently hosted a three-day event in March where over 9,000 shots were administered to eligible members of the Cincinnati community. The National Guard was present to help run the event. 

This Thursday through Saturday, Kroger is planning another event at Cintas Center, where health officials will administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It is anticipated that about 7,500 shots will be given at this pop-up, mass-vaccination site. 

Anyone who is over the age of 18 can sign up on the Kroger website, including students who are residents of another state or country. Cintas Center is also looking to schedule two more Johnson & Johnson events for the third and fourth weekends in April. 

Newswire photo by Erik Maahs

Earlier this week, the governor’s office gave notice to universities that they are planning to provide Johnson & Johnson vaccines to university students across the state during the month of April.

The state hopes that students will be fully vaccinated by the end of the semester. Vaccine distribution is being expedited by the fact that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose. Coleman explained that he is “cautiously optimistic” in this effort being put forth by the state. 

Until now, TriHealth has been supplying the university with approximately 200 shots per week for at-risk individuals. With the added state oversight, Xavier will know early this week how many vaccines will be allocated specifically to students and employees through Kroger.

Xavier is also incentivizing students to receive the vaccine by assuring students they won’t have to quarantine if they provide proof of vaccination. Once inoculated, students are to upload their vaccination record card to MedProctor. If they are identified as a close contact, they will have no requirement to quarantine.

Proof of vaccination is currently not required by the university. However, between now and the fall semester, Coleman said that could change, dependent on legal questions. As the fall semester approaches, the task force will continue to look into vaccine requirements.

Outside MedProctor submissions, there is currently no way for Xavier to keep track of vaccinations. In speaking with other universities,  Coleman hopes to add a vaccination record to the COVID-19 Dashboard sometime in the near future. 

Coleman explained that he hopes to see pre-pandemic conditions nearly totally restored come the beginning of the fall semester. 

This is aided given the Centers for Disease Control recently lowered the social distancing requirement from 6 feet to 3 feet for K-12 schools. The inclination is that it will be lowered for higher education schools and possibly even removed before fall semester as vaccinations continue. 

This past week with improved weather, Xavier has seen a recent spike in infections and a high amount of students in quarantine. Coleman emphasized that students need to maintain the same level of dedication to COVID-19 protocol as they have been. 

The COVID-19 Task Force continues to meet daily to plan campus protocol in accordance with state guidelines and current pandemic conditions. Students and employees are encouraged to make an appointment to receive their vaccine through Kroger’s website.