On April 6, Stony Brook University administered 1,400 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to students living on campus. The mass vaccination day fell on the first day that New York granted eligibility for those 16 of age and older.
“I’m so thrilled that the eligibility came much earlier than we ever expected,” said Rick Gatteau, vice president for Student Affairs at SBU and dean of students.
The administration sent out an email to residents last Thursday with a link to sign up. Within two hours it was filled, and there is currently a waitlist of 500 students waiting for the next session.
The event took place in the newly constructed Student Union building, where students arrived at their assigned time and were guided through the process by dozens of volunteers. They will return for their second dose on May 4.
“I felt compelled to get the vaccine”, said Victor Shin, a sophomore chemistry major. “I’m hoping that the campus will open up very soon and we can head back toward in-person learning.”
By the end of the day, 30% of on campus residents received a vaccine. With the semester wrapping up in a few weeks, the administration is hoping to vaccinate all students who are interested so that the second dose falls before the last day of classes May 4.
“The fact that we’ve had such a huge turnout is reflective of our students’ interest in getting the vaccine,” Gatteau said. “We’re a big STEM school focused on research, and students know the value of the science and research that went into it, which is similar to their own career pursuits.”
Residents were selected first due to their risk of transmission by living in close quarters in dorms. The next group to be offered a spot will be commuter students who travel to campus and those who are fully remote but live on Long Island.
“Even if it was never required, I think we’d get to our herd immunity number just based on interest,” Gatteau said.
The decision of whether or not vaccination will be required of students returning to campus in the fall is still up for deliberation by the State University of New York administration. This week they announced that in the fall, 80% of classes will be held in person.