State Eligibility Expansions Allow for Student Vaccine Access

Josie Rozzelle, Assistant News Editor

All New York residents ages 16 and older became eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Tuesday, April 6. The eligibility expansion includes those who reside, work or study in N.Y. State. 

Colgate University, in coordination with the Madison County Department of Health, also received an allotment of approximately 150 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this week, according to Associate Vice President for Campus Safety, Environmental Health and Emergency Management Dan Gough. Gough sent an email on Tuesday informing Colgate community members of the dosage allotment and new state eligibility requirements.

“These vaccines will be distributed to any Colgate affiliated individuals over the age of 18 at the Hall of Presidents [HOP] on Thursday, April 8,” Gough wrote. 

After signing up for a vaccine appointment waitlist through the Madison County Health Department, senior Massimo Indolini was able to secure a vaccine appointment at the Colgate distribution clinic on Thursday at the HOP. 

“I signed up because I wanted to be fully vaccinated before I went back home to my family,” Indolini said. “Honestly. I didn’t think I was going to be able to get a vaccine before leaving Colgate since we’re right at the end, and I still wasn’t eligible until [Tuesday].”

As an EMT with the Hamilton Fire Department, junior Willa King volunteered to work at the HOP to help administer vaccinations. 

“It’s great to be a part of the effort to help get the campus back to normal,” King said. “I’m also really impressed by all the students taking part in the effort to vaccinate everyone. It’s been a great learning experience to gain new medical skills.”

Because the Moderna vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, individuals who signed up to receive the vaccine yesterday must be on-campus to receive the second dose on May 7, Gough wrote in his email.

The two-dose nature of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines poses a challenge to on-campus distribution, specifically for students. The second dose of a vaccination series begun after this week would likely occur after most students depart campus at the end of the academic year.

In response to this anticipated difficulty, Vice President for Communications Laura Jack wrote in her April 4 Colgate Digest email that campus administrators are prioritizing efforts to receive allotments of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“Knowing that it is becoming harder for students to commit to two-dose scenarios with finals and departures approaching, our campus health experts are doing everything they can to obtain J&J single-dose vaccines,” Jack wrote. 

Jack clarified that community members who receive their first vaccine dosage through the University or Madison County distribution sites must receive their second dose in the same location.

“We will still ask students, faculty, and staff to commit to obtaining both shots at the same location in order to participate in clinics on campus or in Madison County,” Jack wrote. “If you cannot, please make it a first priority when you arrive at home for summer break. Vaccinations, though not currently required, are the key to returning to a safe new normal next fall.”