On Wednesday afternoon, Indiana State University student Alanson Gann took a shot in the arm for a good cause.
He also wants campus life to get back to normal as soon as possible.
Gann, an ISU junior from Paris, Ill., received his first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shot at the ISU Student Health Center. “This is just a step to help protect our fraternity community and also myself and loved ones around me,” said Gann, president of ISU’s Interfraternity Council.
While some college students may believe it’s unnecessary because they aren’t at high risk for serious illness, Gann recognizes a responsibility to older generations and those more at risk.
“I think one step in protecting older generations is to protect ourselves first,” he said. The more younger people get vaccinated, the more it protects older generations.
COVID cases have been increasing somewhat in Indiana, and variants remain a concern, a good reason for college students to get vaccinated. “I don’t think we want to go into a complete lockdown again,” Gann said.
It was easy to sign up, he said, and getting the vaccination took very little time.
Most students he knows at ISU are getting vaccinated, and he urges those hesitant to do the same.
“We’re ready for things to open back up. We’re ready for those university classes to be full. Personally, I’m ready for campus to be filled with students again. It’s kind of odd to walk through campus sometimes” and few people can be seen walking around, he said.
If students get vaccinated, “Things will open back up. We’ll be able to be a full campus, where we can all sit around the fountain and study together and enjoy our time,” Gann said.
Wednesday marked the first day COVID vaccinations were administered on campus, through a cooperative effort involving the Indiana Department of Health and Union Health, said Andy Morgan, interim vice president for student affairs.
Union Medical Group operates a clinic at the ISU Student Health Center.
The vaccinations are for students and employees only, and students have received first priority, based on state guidance.
“It’s been a great success so far,” Morgan said. “We’re filled today and the rest of this week with all available appointments. We really appreciate the students taking advantage of this.”
The clinic has 180 slots available each day. Students have been able to sign up using an email they received from the state, Morgan said.
All university employees also are eligible to get a vaccination at the ISU Health Center, but on Wednesday, it was primarily students who got vaccinated.
Many employees have already been eligible for vaccinations and received them at other community sites, Morgan said.
Getting more people vaccinated is important in building herd immunity, which makes it safer for the region, state and country, Morgan said. That, in turn, will hasten a return to normalcy.
Getting vaccinated “is the right thing to do. It’s the unselfish thing to do,” Morgan said.
Some people are concerned about vaccinations, but the science behind it shows it is safe, he said.
Next week, ISU will be doing an online town hall with Dr. Darren Brucken, Vigo County health commissioner, “to educate our students and employees about the importance of the vaccine and why they should get it,” Morgan said.
Second doses will also be available on campus, but students and employees can get their second dose at another location if desired.
Both Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology also are providing COVID vaccinations on campus for students and employees.
The vaccinations are offered in partnership with the Indiana Department of Health.