First COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic on campus a success

For UNI education professor Theophile Muhayimana, it was about protecting himself and the campus community he’s a part of. For senior elementary education major Marisa Jane Bieschke, it was about keeping her students safe. 

Whatever their reasons, more than 275 faculty, staff and students received the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday in the West Gym during the first day of a mass vaccination clinic on campus. UNI staff helped each person complete their paperwork and then each individual went to one of seven vaccination stations, where a Allen College nursing student administered the vaccine and handed them their completed vaccination card. 

It’s a quick and relatively painless process. Muhayimana’s smile was visible through his mask after receiving his dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“It was really exciting because we’ve been locked down for months and this will help us get back to business,” he said. “It’s really important because it will help not just individuals but the whole campus.”

“Honestly, it was easy,” said Bieschke, who hopes to teach kindergarten or first grade after graduating. “It felt like a civic duty. I’m around a lot of kids so I wanted to protect everybody.”

The vaccination clinic, which runs through Friday, is an important step in helping bring UNI closer to a return to normal next fall, said Shelley O’Connell, director of the Student Health Center. 

“Along with wearing a mask and physical distancing, this is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and those around you,” O’Connell said. 

As of Thursday morning, a very small number of appointments were still available for Friday. Students can register here while faculty and staff and register here.

More than 1,170 students, faculty and staff are expected to receive the vaccine on campus this week. A Tuesday vaccination clinic for students was canceled after the CDC and FDA paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the U.S.