Out-of-state UVM students eager for vaccinations

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 6:46 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Out-of-state college students and part-time Vermont residents Thursday joined the list of those eligible to sign up for the COVID vaccine. At the University of Vermont, where the end of the spring semester -- and commencement -- is only weeks away, officials there say COVID restrictions already in place probably won’t loosen much, if at all. But every one of the students we spoke to said they’re still ready to get the shot.

“I have an appointment tomorrow to get vaccinated,” said Alana Tonidandeo, a UVM junior from Montana.

“I actually have my vaccination appointment on Saturday,” said Remy Farrell, a senior from Pennsylvania.

These students from out of state say they aren’t waiting until they get home this summer to get vaccinated. “I’m really happy, just because it’s been scary,” said Annie Gilland, a sophomore from Connecticut. “It’s going to be nice knowing that more and more people have vaccines and that I have a vaccine.”

While they know restrictions on campus will likely remain the same -- and the Green and Gold promise still stands -- they say what matters most is protecting Vermont’s residents. “This is my community now, and it’s both beneficial to myself and everyone around me to just get the vaccine as soon as I can,” Tonidandeo said.

“I’m doing it for other people. I’m doing it for myself,” Farrell said.

The college announced this week it’s hosting a Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinic this Sunday at Patrick Gym and that 600 slots are up for grabs. School officials say they’re encouraging students to fill them, even though the clinic is open to the public, and they believe students are eager to take advantage of the opportunity. “We’ve seen a great response by our students, by their families, saying we’re excited about this, thank you. My child’s going to sign up immediately,” said Gary Derr, UVM vice president for operations and public safety.

He says the university is not yet tracking which students have received the shot and that they haven’t decided if the vaccine will be a requirement next semester, though those students who do have all their doses can now opt to take only one COVID-19 test a week. “I think over the next coming days, we’re going to see more and more of those students reporting being fully vaccinated. We’ve seen a significant increase in the request to be exempt because they are fully vaccinated, and that’s exciting to see,” Derr said.

He says they also hope the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this Sunday will prove an incentive, not just because it’s conveniently located on campus, but because it only requires one dose.

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