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Monday December 6th

Campus Health hosts COVID-19 booster shot clinics for health science students

High school senior and Chapel Hill resident Maliah Austine receives her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination at the Friday Center  on Monday, Mar. 22, 2021. Austine,  a member of N.C. vaccination Group 3, has been working at her in-person job for several months during the pandemic.
Buy Photos High school senior and Chapel Hill resident Maliah Austine receives her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination at the Friday Center on Monday, Mar. 22, 2021. Austine, a member of N.C. vaccination Group 3, has been working at her in-person job for several months during the pandemic.

UNC health science students who received their second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine more than six months ago are eligible to receive a booster shot. 

Now, they're able to do so at one of the five scheduled clinics run by UNC Campus Health between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2. All clinics are located at Bondurant Hall, next to the Health Sciences Library. 

In the national rollout, one of the first groups eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine was healthcare workers. 

“Our health sciences students are on the front lines every day when it comes to helping limit the spread of COVID-19 and working directly with patients,'' Ken Pittman, executive director of campus health, said. “Because of that, we’re excited to be able to offer these clinics designed especially for them to receive a booster shot.”

North Carolina health science students were included in the healthcare worker category, due to their daily face-to-face interactions with patients, said Laine Stewart, clinical education coordinator for the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science.

“The booster is currently approved for people at higher risk, so they started with people who are immunocompromised, who may not have had as strong a response to the vaccine,” Stewart said. “And then now it’s also available to people at risk by virtue of their profession including health professions, and so that once again includes our students.” 

The booster vaccines are being administered by Campus Health and are being offered during 15-minute appointments at five clinics, according to UNC Media Relations. 

“When they show up, they just fill out a standard form – a questionnaire – get registered, they get the shot administered, and then they have their 15-minute observation time,” Stewart said. 

The first clinic, held on Oct. 1, administered approximately 185 booster shots, Stewart said in an email. Stewart said the interest was much higher than she expected. 

“We honestly weren’t sure how strong the interest was amongst students,” Stewart said. “We knew some were ready to get their boosters, but when we made the appointments available, they filled up really fast.” 

Some non-health science students, like first-year environmental science major Lydia McRoy, are also interested in getting booster shots when they are available. She said she wants to get the additional vaccine to keep herself and others safe.

“Being involved with the sciences, you do come into contact with a lot of people, and any way that I could protect myself or others even more, I feel like it would open up greater opportunities,” McRoy said. 

As of now, the booster shot appointments are only available to health science students who received the Pfizer vaccine, UNC Media Relations said. 

Stewart said that there is unlikely to be more department-wide clinics outside of the health sciences. 

Stewart said in a email that Campus Health is prepared to administer shots to other students as they become eligible. If faculty, staff or students have pre-existing conditions that make them eligible for the COVID-19 booster shot, they will be able to receive it sooner, Stewart said.  

If you are a health science student eligible to get a booster vaccine, make an appointment here.

university@dailytarheel.com

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