SUNY will provide 18,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to residential students across 34 campuses prior to the end of the spring semester, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced Tuesday.
New York State expanded vaccine eligibility to residents 16 years and older Tuesday. College students are now eligible to get vaccinated at NYS vaccine clinics or pharmacies.
The 18,600 doses will be distributed among 34 SUNY campuses, including UB. On Monday, UB Spokesperson John DellaContrada announced that the university is in the “preliminary” stages of establishing an on-campus student vaccination site. Other SUNY campuses — including Stony Brook and UAlbany — have already begun vaccinating students.
“We remain grateful to our students for their dedication and patience during this very challenging academic year,” university spokesperson John DellaContrada said in a statement. “As the availability of vaccines expands to include students and all individuals, the university is hopeful that the pandemic will be coming to an end and life on UB’s campuses will begin to return to a more normal existence.”
SUNY favors J&J because students will only need to take one dose of the vaccine, as compared with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which require two doses spread across 21 and 28 days, respectively.
“Because the J&J vaccine requires just one dose, tens of thousands of on-campus students scheduled to finish the semester in early May can get their one shot without having to wait weeks for a second dose before going home,” SUNY announced in a press release.
If the 18,600 doses are equally distributed, UB would receive 547 doses. UB currently has approximately 4,150 on-campus students, according to Jessica Kane, assistant director for communications and marketing initiatives for Campus Living. That allocation would allow roughly 13% of residential students to receive the J&J vaccine.
SUNY is seeking to increase its vaccine supply over the coming weeks.
“SUNY is currently working alongside New York State to secure additional doses to be reserved specifically for the SUNY residential student population,” the press release reads. “Those will be distributed to more campuses in weekly installments over the next several weeks.”
While SUNY has not mandated that students be inoculated for COVID-19 for the fall 2021 semester, Cornell University announced plans on April 2 to require students to get vaccinated, according to USA Today.
CDC guidance states that fully vaccinated individuals can travel and meet with unvaccinated people. It is still unclear if COVID-19 can spread after inoculation.
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Julie Frey is an assistant news/features editor for The Spectrum.