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BW community rolls up sleeves to stage COVID-19 vaccination clinics

It's the sting that Yellow Jackets welcomed with open arms. For many students, getting the COVID-19 vaccine at Baldwin Wallace University represents more than an ounce of prevention, but a syringe full of hope.

Members of the BW community rolled up their sleeves (literally and figuratively) to dispense hundreds of the one-and-done Johnson & Johnson vaccines to students under the State of Ohio's campus vaccination initiative in early April.

First sleeve rolled up

Lauren Bara, C.N.P., Director of BW Health Services administers the first shot at BW’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic to Cassidy Prather ’21.Cassidy Prather '21 was the first student to receive a vaccine when the clinic opened. The sport management major and member of the women's lacrosse team says she didn't hesitate when the vaccine was offered.

"I work at a summer camp back home in upstate New York," Prather explains. "I want to protect the kids, protect my parents and others. I was very excited to learn I could get it here."

The vaccine rollout is started with competing student-athletes, with hundreds of appointments available to all students on Saturday and Sunday of the clinic.

A dose for every student who wants one

"Roll up your sleeves, BW!"Approximately 700 current BW students, graduate and undergraduate, and including those from out-of-state, took advantage of the opportunity to receive the single-dose vaccine developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

The FDA authorized the emergency use of the Janssen vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older; the agency paused use of the J&J vaccine following the BW clinic to investigate a small number of blood clotting incidents out of millions of vaccinated Americans.

Bolstered by campus volunteers

Led by BW Health Services and faculty and students in the physician assistant and nursing programs, BW staged the multi-day vaccine clinic in the Lou Higgins Recreation Center. Additional faculty and staff volunteers are stepping up to help with directions and data entry to get the job done.

Two weeks after a student is fully vaccinated, they will no longer be included in BW surveillance testing and will not need to be quarantined for exposure to those who test positive for COVID-19.

Dawson Gabe '23, sustainability and business major, said immunity for him will kick in for part of the Yellow Jacket baseball season, which runs late into May. "I decided to get it for peace of mind and to stay healthy for the season," he explained.

Part of a strategic state approach

Angelina Minisall '24 lines up for her Johnson & Johnson vaccine at BW's vaccination clinic."My family encouraged me to get it since all of them are getting vaccinated," said Angelina Minisall '24. The freshman psychology major and BW softball player has never known BW without COVID-19 health protocols in place. "I definitely think the vaccine offers hope for fewer restrictions next year, especially if a lot of people are getting it."

Dale Grubb, who chairs BW's Health Advisory Committee, emphasized that masks will continue to be required through the end of the semester as mandated by the state and public health best practices.

"We are grateful to the State of Ohio and Governor Mike DeWine for making the vaccine available to our campus. Our students have been terrific at complying with health protocols all year, and the availability of vaccinations bodes well for our ability to enhance our in-person experience in the fall as our state and nation work toward herd immunity."

In announcing the plan to offer vaccines on campus, DeWine said, "It is a strategic move to vaccinate them on campus before they get out in early May, get out in the summer, and scatter throughout the state and throughout the country."

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