Vaccination clinic bookstore giftcard available for students

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Free COVID-19 vaccinations are available at the Student Health Center by walk-in or appointment at (319)273-2100.

Emma Koehler, Staff Writer

In an effort to keep Panther Nation Moving Forward Together, UNI will be hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics each Thursday from 1-3 p.m. and each Friday from 9-11 a.m. in the Student Health Center. To encourage getting the vaccine, students who show proof of their vaccination starting Aug 30 will be gifted a $25 UNI Bookstore gift card.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is administered through the Student Health center at no cost to students. Those interested can simply walk-in during the allocated time slots or call 319-273-2100 to schedule an appointment. Students must stay 15-30 minutes after being vaccinated in order to monitor possible adverse health or allergic reactions.

As of Aug. 23, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been fully approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. 

Testing for COVID-19 is also available free of charge through the Student Health Center by calling to make an appointment or by picking up an at-home test kit by Test Iowa.  

Fully vaccinated students, no matter what date they become fully vaccinated, can show their vaccination card and UNI ID to the information desk in Maucker Union to receive a $25 gift card to the bookstore starting Aug. 30. The gift card can be used on clothing or other regalia. The information desk operates from noon to 4 p.m. during the week, not including weekends. Students have until Oct. 15 to take advantage of the offer.

Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) president, Samantha Bennett, suggested the gift card incentive. She found it important to recognize those who are just now getting vaccinated but also those who took the steps to get vaccinated earlier on and make sure everyone could take advantage of the incentive. 

“I suggested an incentive because I felt it was important to reward those who took the steps to help protect our community – because this vaccine isn’t just about ourselves, it’s about protecting those who cannot be vaccinated and preventing further mutations of the virus,” Bennett said. “Vaccinations keep the pandemic from being prolonged further and it’s very important we do what we can to encourage them.”

Bennett expressed the seriousness of the pandemic if more individuals do not get vaccinated. She also pointed out the unknown of how badly the virus impacts each person; some may only feel like they have a cold while for others, it may be fatal. 

“We could stay stuck in this pseudo-back-to-normal where the virus keeps mutating and people keep getting sick so we can’t fully return to normal operations,” Bennett said. “I know that’s what we all want – those Panther experiences the way they are meant to be had. In-person, no masks, no distancing and no fear.” 

As the fall semester is in full swing, students have the ability to engage in on-campus and in-person activities. Most, if not all, being in-person with masks not required. UNI’s Campus Activities Board (CAB) Director of Operations, Helen Beyer, is navigating the uncertainty of what the pandemic might look like this year carefully, but still full of excitement to be back on campus. 

“Our main concern is the students,” Beyer said. “This year, our goal is to help students reconnect with campus and each other through events.”

Beyer highlights the importance of feeling connected to campus, as a part of a vital college experience. Despite less COVID-19 restrictions, she still wants everyone to be and feel safe. 

“This past year has been a rollercoaster with many ups and downs,” Beyer said. “But we all play a part in hopes of bringing it to a stop. Whether it be getting the vaccine, wearing a mask, or social distancing, we all can help slow the spread of COVID-19.” 

Students can check out all of the upcoming events for the semester on the CAB website at studentlife.uni.edu/campus-activities-board. For COVID-19 information, UNI will continue to send out information about Moving Forward Together two times a week. The Forward Together website at forwardtogether.uni.edu is also kept up to date with recent guidelines and suggestions. 

UNI encourages everyone to get vaccinated and wear a mask as recommended by the CDC.