Beginning Friday, Michigan State University will start administering doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to its registered students, by appointment only, at a student-only vaccine clinic inside the Pavilion for Agricultural and Livestock Education. Doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are being made available specifically for students through the Ingham County Health Department and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
This news comes following a recent survey conducted by the National Social Norms Center at MSU that showed more than 80% of MSU undergraduate and graduate students plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to them. This response was nearly consistent across all ages, genders and ethnicities.
“Vaccines transform our ability to deal with COVID-19, but the real challenge has been about access,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “We are thrilled to now have the ability to provide a safe and effective, single-dose vaccine directly to our student population, who overwhelmingly want to receive one. The more people who get vaccinated, the closer we get to a more typical fall semester.”
Students identified protecting themselves (48.1%) and caring for others (34.5%) as their main reasons for wanting the COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 30% responded that getting back to normal, including attending in-person classes and interacting with each other, was another top reason for getting vaccinated.
Among those surveyed, 11.9% said they were unsure about getting a vaccine and 7.5% said they did not plan on it. The top reasons cited were concerns about adverse reactions and worry about possible long-term effects. The university is providing information about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines including experts talking about myths vs. facts and recordings of previous informational town halls, to help address those concerns.
“The data from our survey, which has a 20-year history of tracking health issues and primary prevention on the MSU campus, is very encouraging and reliable,” said Dennis Martell, executive director of the center and director of MSU Health Promotion. “We should not underestimate the will of MSU students to get back to in-person classes.”
MSU already is coordinating with the ICHD to operate a vaccine distribution clinic in the main arena at the Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education on the East Lansing campus. The student-only clinic will be added to this location in the Pavilion’s auditorium.
“The largest source of spread of the virus continues to be among those aged 18-29, so they are a top priority, especially as MSU students may be leaving this community soon and going to other areas of the state and country,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail. “Providing a single-dose vaccine means we can get thousands of students vaccinated before the semester ends.”
Interested students must register to schedule an appointment, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Students are asked to bring a valid MSU student ID or a valid state ID, passport or driver’s license. Status as an MSU student will be verified upon arrival.
MSU’s student-only clinic is just one source of vaccine distribution available. While not an exhaustive list, the university has information about how to sign up to receive a vaccine at other locations on the Together We Will website including links to local health departments, hospital systems and pharmacies as well as the mass distribution centers at Ford Field in Detroit and DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.
The National Social Norms Center at MSU conducts the National College Health Assessment bi-annually in partnership with the American College Health Association. The survey is designed to gauge the health habits, behaviors and perceptions of college students, especially as they impact academic performance. The purpose is to enable university administrators to plan efforts that might help students thrive, to evaluate efforts to date and inform students.