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Indiana colleges work to get their students vaccinated against COVID-19

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Posted at 5:35 PM, Apr 26, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — As we wait to see which other universities will require its students to be vaccinated come fall, like Notre Dame is requiring for their students, Marian University is having their own medical and nursing students help administer the COVID-19 vaccine to students and staff all week long.

“A lot of us are really busy especially as we get close to finals,” Ben Kompar, a sophomore said. “So, to have a clinic here on campus is really nice because we can just walk in and get it done.”

“I want to get it because I’m a nursing student,” Katlyn Moore, a freshman explained. “So, it will be important later on once I start going to the hospitals and things like that to protect others.”

“I’m on the rugby team and will be competing in nationals this coming May down in Louisiana so just to ensure that I’ll be able to play and do it for my teammates,” Kompar added.

Students at Marian are taking advantage of their university opening its own vaccination clinic on campus.

“I believe in science. I believe in the cause,” Eden Austin, a sophomore said. “I worked in a hospital and a lot of the doctors I worked with got it. So, I trust them.”

“This is a really tough time obviously. So it’s important that everybody gets vaccinated to get that herd immunity and to get everything normal again because for me personally, I want everything back to normal as soon as possible,” Alex Lupear, a nursing student said.

Students are able to sign up for an appointment ahead of time, but they’re also welcoming walk-ins.

“We have some students and they are questioning it, saying why and what’s in it and what are the side effects and should I do this?” Dr. Amanda Wright, Dean of the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine said. “And, I think that’s OK. I encourage people to ask those questions. We have our health professional students here. Who better to answer those questions?”

Faculty and staff are teaching their medical school and nursing students how to administer the vaccine. so students are learning and getting vaccinated all at the same time.

“Because of COVID and stuff, I haven’t been able to get that much experience the first semester so this is an opportunity to get more experience,” Lupear said.

As of Monday, 32% of eligible Hoosiers have been fully vaccinated. Boone County has the highest vaccination rate in central Indiana at more than 45%. While less than 30% of those 16 and older in Marion County have been fully vaccinated.

“It is concerning because we need to have high vaccine rates so that we all can be safe," Dr. Wright said. “We keep talking about returning to normal. But there won’t be one until we all can be safe.”

Marian University has not decided whether it will require its students to be vaccinated to return in the fall, if it will follow in Notre Dame’s footsteps or not, and recognizing the seriousness of keeping schools open and safe.

“A school should think a lot before they decide to mandate something like a vaccine to respect everybody’s opinions on the matter,” Kompar said. “But I also support the fact that if there’s research and the vaccine is safe, it will help us to stay open, it could be a good thing to mandate it.”

“The students are going to be going home to different communities. We want those community safe,” Dr. Wright explained. “And when they come back in the fall, we want everybody to have a safe return. So I think this is so important. And it’s hard. We have young healthy students. So, it’s hard to think about well why do I need a vaccine? I’m healthy. Yes, you are. And we want you to stay healthy. And this is the best thing you can do to stay healthy.”