AU on the list of possible vaccine recipients

Ashland+University+hopes+to+receive+the+coronavirus+vaccine+serum+to+protect+students%2C+faculty+and+staff.

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Ashland University hopes to receive the coronavirus vaccine serum to protect students, faculty and staff.

Isabella Pacinelli, Features Editor

The state of Ohio has recognized Ashland University as a vaccination distribution site. 

While the university has not yet received the vaccines, they are preparing for the possibility of getting them this semester. 

As for limitations and requirements surrounding this approval, a lot of information is unknown. 

“The point for registering as a distribution point would be that we can vaccinate our campus — our students, faculty and staff,” Vice President of Student Affairs, Robert Pool said. 

AU’s physician Dr. Chris Boyd applied for this license back in late January. Just a few weeks ago, the university got word they have been listed as a spot for vaccines to be potentially administered. 

“It does not mean that we will get vaccines,” Pool said. “It means we can, if and when they distribute them to us.”

Administration does not know what kinds of restrictions the state will impose in terms of who can get the vaccine. 

“If they send us vaccines, it will most likely go to those who are affiliated with AU,” Pool said. “But the state could say, you need to make this available to the public. We don’t know yet.”

Pool expects that detailed information will be disclosed one week before the vaccines are distributed. 

“We’ll be ready for them, it’s just a matter of when we can say, ‘hey this is the date we’re going to have them, go to this website, and sign up,’” he said. “We’ll have a system for students and others to come in at certain times so that we keep an orderly flow.”

The vaccines will most likely be administered in the student health center. 

AU’s COVID-19 Response Coordinator Elise Riggle, is starting to worry that the university is running out of time to distribute the vaccines this semester. 

“If we don’t get the vaccines until the middle of April and we have to give out two doses, unless you’re local or willing to come back for the second dose, we can’t give you the first dose,” she said. 

Although there is stress surrounding the availability of coronavirus vaccines, Riggle has noticed a dramatic difference in handling COVID-19 on campus. 

“I think we’re settled into the processes and the expectations. It’s also different because surveillance testing is happening and so that takes time to organize,” she said. “It does feel like there’s less fear and more hope this semester.”

Strides have been made to increase that hope by providing students access to the vaccines, however, Riggle made it clear that receiving the vaccine is not a requirement on campus. 

“As a university, we are not mandating students, faculty or staff to get vaccines but we are strongly encouraging everyone to do that,” Riggle said. 

AU administration is asking all students to have continued vigilance and patience through this whole process. 

“We need to really keep going strong here, now, more than ever,” Pool said.