Penn State Expands COVID Vaccine Availability
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Health has announced that all Penn State students, faculty and staff are eligible to sign up and receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine will be distributed at a vaccination clinic at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Penn State initially began in Phase 1A of its vaccination distribution, which allowed for some essential workers and those considered high risk to receive the vaccine. Phase 1B started last Monday, April 5, allowing for faculty and staff members who are in contact with students to get their vaccine. Phase 1C began Monday, April 12 and allows for students who are employees of the university to receive their vaccine. On Monday, April 19, any Penn State student will be eligible to take the vaccine.
At a campus as large as University Park, Penn State has the facilities and the space to allow for widespread vaccinations. Penn State students are taking advantage of this current and upcoming opportunity, including Kyle Flick.
“I'm choosing to get vaccinated because Penn State has recently increased availability of the vaccine to students, and it was a pretty seamless process to sign up and schedule my appointment,” Flick said. “Also I believe it’s good for the protection of the student body and the general public to get my vaccine because, even though I already had COVID, you can get reinfected, and I think that once we reach herd immunity with vaccinations that we could get back to our normal lives.”
At the moment, the vaccine is optional as the university hasn’t made it mandatory. Cornell, Rutgers, Fort Lewis College, Nova Southeastern, St. Edward’s, Roger Williams University, Brown and Northeastern are some universities that are requiring students to receive their COVID-19 vaccination before returning to class in the fall.
Some students might be reluctant to take the vaccine because of mistrust. Since the vaccine has been developed in a shorter amount of time than most other vaccines, some people have been more unwilling to get it. Others have been concerned about overall side effects from the vaccine, including Jack Rittenmeyer.
“I'm one of the people [who] has been really reluctant to take [the vaccine] for a couple reasons, one that it's been so new and it was so quickly developed, and a lot of the other vaccines have taken many years and a lot of trials to go through to get past and [get] accepted,” Rittenmeyer said. “The other reason is its true efficacy and the side effects, and I'm not too sure I want to go through them yet because I am a young and healthy adult.”
The university and even students are trying to get as many people as they can to get the vaccine by sending emails and posting on social media. Penn State will include COVID vaccine updates and information in daily emails sent to all students. These efforts are to help increase the chance of students being able to take in-person classes in the upcoming fall semester.
Isabella Leahy is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.