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U. hosts first on-campus COVID-19 vaccination clinic for students, faculty, staff

May 17 clinic offers first dose of Moderna vaccine to campus community, attracts 60+ participants

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The University’s history of hosting vaccination clinics made it a viable location to administer COVID-19 vaccines as Rhode Island seeks to widen vaccine availability throughout the state.

The University hosted its first on-campus COVID-19 vaccination clinic Monday for students, faculty and staff, offering participants their first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Over 60 individuals attended the clinic and received the vaccine, according to Kimberly Almeida, director of benefits operations and human resources.

The clinic was held in partnership with The Wellness Company at the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center. The University notified faculty and staff about the vaccination clinic in a campus-wide announcement May 10, where they were given instructions on how to sign up if they had not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Participants were offered the Moderna vaccine, which has been “shown to be 95 percent effective in preventing symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and in preventing severe disease,” according to the announcement. The University added that those seeking a second dose on campus would have the opportunity to attend a second clinic during the week of June 14.

“Since the first COVID-19 vaccines were authorized for use in December 2020, Brown has offered to assist the State of Rhode Island with efforts to distribute the vaccine to eligible populations as doses became available,” Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy Russell Carey ’91 MA’06 and Almeida wrote in the campus-wide email.

“While Rhode Island has focused primarily on distribution through state-operated vaccination sites and pharmacies, increasing availability of the vaccine has shifted that approach in recent weeks,” they added. “(We are) pleased to share today Brown’s ability to host these on-campus clinics to administer the vaccine.”

While initially the clinic was open exclusively to faculty and staff, students staying in the Providence area for the summer semester were notified in a May 13 email that they could also participate.

The University’s history of hosting vaccination clinics — specifically an annual flu shot clinic in the fall — made it a viable location to administer COVID-19 vaccines as Rhode Island seeks to widen vaccine availability throughout the state, according to Dr. Philip Chan, medical director at the Rhode Island Department of Health and associate professor of medicine and behavioral and social sciences.

“The State of Rhode Island has been in collaboration with many different colleges and universities” in offering health services throughout the pandemic, Chan said.

The process of registering individuals for the clinics requires working with state registries, Chan added. “People need to be scheduled, the vaccine needs to be recorded, you’re screening people and then there’s also a vaccine registry at the state of Rhode Island (where the) results of the clinic (are) reported to the state,” he said. 

Although vaccination rates are increasing throughout the state, the majority of on-campus vaccination slots were still filled, indicating a persisting demand for COVID-19 vaccinations within the campus community, Almeida told The Herald.

The “Brown Takes Care campaign has focused increasingly on the importance of vaccination to both individual health and in the University’s ability to return to normal operations more quickly,” she said. 

In the coming weeks, RIDOH will look to areas with higher proportions of unvaccinated people and set up clinics within those communities for easier access, according to Chan. “The Rhode Island Department of Health, in collaboration with the local and state government, is really working to get the vaccine out to as many people as possible,” he said. 

While not every workplace can feasibly host its own vaccination clinic, Chan emphasized the importance of employers encouraging and supporting vaccination for their employees. 

“Employers should potentially allow time off work for their employees to get vaccinated and make allowances for the day after the vaccine in case (the employee) has a reaction,” said Chan. 

Brown will require the COVID-19 vaccine for all students starting in fall 2021. In the meantime, the University will continue to evaluate student access to vaccinations, according to University Spokesperson Brian Clark.

“The greater the number of Brown community members who are vaccinated, and the more quickly that happens, the sooner we’ll be able to consider returning from current health and safety protocols to more normal campus operations,” he wrote.

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  1. Mandatory experimental vaccines for a disease so deadly that 99.99% of healthy college aged students recover from it, makes total sense.

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