Middle Tennessee State University students are being encouraged not to miss a special on-campus opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic that resumed Thursday, April 15, in the Student Union atrium.
After opening the clinic April 12 inside the Student Union, MTSU Health Services shut down the effort Tuesday and Wednesday, April 13-14, in accordance with the recent recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to pause use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which the university had been administering.
Upcoming vaccine clinics offered by Health Services will now administer the two-shot Moderna vaccine.
Dubbed the “Don’t Miss Your Shot” campaign, this effort, spearheaded by Health Services personnel, provides an excellent chance for MTSU students — with an appointment — to receive their shot this week in a convenient, high-traffic location inside the Student Union.
Special signs posted around campus, as well as digital signage, social media postings, a selfie station, Student Union Commons activities and other efforts, are being used to spread the word about the free vaccine clinic.
MTSU health officials say that any appointment previously made for or after April 15 remains unchanged, and those individuals should arrive at their originally scheduled date and time.
Those who set their appointments for April 13 or 14 will need to make a new appointment. Appointment slots remain available from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 15, and Friday, April 16, and a photo ID is required to receive the vaccine.
To schedule an appointment, go here or use the QR code found on “Don’t Miss Your Shot” signage.
The vaccine clinic will return to MTSU’s Health, Wellness and Recreation Center location beginning Monday, April 19. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays, and extended hours will once again be offered until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 20.
MTSU Health Services staff will be reminding students that the Moderna vaccine requires a second booster shot 28 to 42 days after the initial dose, unlike the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The second dose may be scheduled with Health Services, or students can use https://vaccinefinder.org to find more vaccine providers locally and around the country as MTSU nears the end of its spring semester and some students return to their hometowns.
MTSU Health Services officials said they anticipate administering around 60 student vaccines per hour initially. If more students request appointments, “we can re-tool and pull more vaccinators from Health Services,” said Lisa Schrader, director of MTSU Health Promotion.
“We highly encourage students to get the vaccine to protect themselves and their family and friends,” said Rick Chapman, Health Services director. “This is the best public health strategy we have.”
Chapman said Health Services learned earlier this week that anyone who is fully vaccinated — and comes in contact with someone with the coronavirus — will no longer have to quarantine.
Schrader said making appointments for vaccinations is important.
“There’s a priority placed on the doses we have, so none of it gets wasted,” she said.
Vaccines must be refrigerated, then brought to room temperature, before they’re administered, “so it’s a math game played throughout the day,” Schrader said.
She added that the university isn’t currently planning to require the COVID vaccine, “but the more students who receive the vaccine, the more in-person activities will be offered in the fall.”
Aramark Corporation, which provides MTSU’s campus food services, and the Campus Recreation Center will be partnering with Health Services to offer incentives for students to get vaccinated.
Students who show proof of vaccination will receive a voucher for a free Subway cookie. The first 50 vaccinated will receive a free drink from the Starbucks in the James E. Walker Library.
Campus Rec will give vaccinated students the choice of a free fitness class or a free intramural registration.
MTSU remains under a face-covering mandate within all campus buildings as well as outside when social distancing is not possible. The university’s COVID-19 mitigation plan and ongoing updates can be found at www.mtsu.edu/coronavirus.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)