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President Johnson joins Gov. DeWine to encourage student vaccinations

Leaders visit the Schottenstein Center as Ohio State’s vaccine rollout ramps up

Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson joined Gov. Mike DeWine today to visit the university-run vaccination clinic at the Schottenstein Center.

Johnson and DeWine visited with students as they were vaccinated at the clinic. DeWine and his wife, Fran, handed out Buckeye brownies to some of the patients finishing their appointments. Johnson said she was encouraged by the turnout.

“I loved it. It’s great. The students are so excited,” she said. “You know, that’s the next step to getting back to some kind of new normal and continuing on their college career. … We had a phenomenal uptake by our students.”

DeWine said the tour today helps bring attention to the effort to get students vaccinated before the academic year ends.

“We thought, during this month, we could take it to the campuses. That’s what we’re doing,” he said. “The whole idea is to make it convenient for the students. So, we’ve been working with the universities to do that. And today we’re really kicking that off across the state.”

Last week, DeWine announced guidelines for employer-based vaccine programs starting the week of April 12. Consistent with those guidelines, Ohio State is able to dedicate 25% of the Wexner Medical Center’s first-dose vaccine allocation to any Ohio State student, faculty or staff member. The university continues to serve current patients and the central Ohio community.

The dedicated vaccinations are possible because of the increasing number of doses available to the Wexner Medical Center and DeWine’s work to secure additional vaccines for college and university students in Ohio. The university is also able to offer dedicated appointments to Ohio State students so that they can complete both their first and second doses of vaccine prior to the end of the semester.

The message is resonating. Johnson said the university estimates more than 30% of the Ohio State community – students, faculty and staff – has received or is scheduled to receive a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think it’s really important over the next few weeks to get as many students vaccinated as possible, and of course, faculty and staff. And the reason why is because we are seeing an uptick in the variants, and an uptick in cases because the new variants transmit faster,” she said.

Johnson described it as a race between the population getting vaccinated and the spread of new variants. She wants the university and the state to win that race and return to a more normal campus in the fall.

Ohio State students who have received the vaccine also said that a shot in the arm is critical to having a closer-to-normal school year next fall. Jacob Chang, a third-year political science and psychology major, said he found it simple to sign up for the vaccine and he encouraged his peers to do the same.

“It’s actually really easy to sign up, for me personally. There are a lot of openings. I actually signed up the day before my appointment,” he said. He hoped the ease of access would lead to a campus-wide herd immunity and a fall that includes a full Ohio Stadium for Buckeye football.

For Samina Hejeebu, a fourth-year finance major, getting vaccinated was personal.

“Both of my parents have been vaccinated since December. They’re first responders. So I was really excited to feel like I could safely spend time with them,” she said.

Beginning today, April 5, the university will provide a shuttle to the Schottenstein Center for students, faculty and staff who have vaccine appointments. Operating hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday. Stops will be made every 10 minutes at the Schottenstein Center, Ohio Union and Blackburn House.

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