Vaccination eligibility opens up to campus community

Ally Lima, Staff Writer

As of April 19, COVID-19 vaccines have become available in Pennsylvania to anyone over the age of 16, including those who live in non-medical congregate settings like colleges and universities. With undergraduates all across the state now eligible, many Bucknellians are taking advantage by scheduling their appointments with urgency. Still, with only about 10 percent of students fully vaccinated per University President John Bravman’s April 14 email, the wave of vaccinations is insufficient for students to let their guards down. Both Student Health and Bucknell Student Government have kept the campus community up-to-date on the logistics of scheduling vaccines, providing transportation to vaccination sites including Weis Market, Evangelical Hospital and Walmart. In addition to these locations, students can schedule vaccines at the Lewisburg CVS. 

The University has made it clear that while students are not required to get vaccinated, the measure is nonetheless strongly encouraged. Those who are fully vaccinated should send documentation to Student Health in order for protocols to be determined. Bravman has been keeping students updated on vaccinations on campus as well as the importance of maintaining vigilance: “[p]lease remember that maximum protection against the virus does not take effect until two weeks following your final dose of the vaccine. After that point, while some precautions may no longer be necessary, all campus health protocols must continue to be followed — including masking, social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene, avoiding large gatherings, and abiding by the University travel policy,” wrote Bravman.

Nicole Kronfli ’23 is a prime example of the importance of maintaining wariness — she tested positive for the virus even after receiving her vaccine. “I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 2 and started to experience symptoms of COVID-19 on April 10, subsequently testing positive on the 12th. My vaccine was not fully functional and I was still able to contract the virus within the two-week period,” Kronfli said. 

Especially with COVID-19 cases on campus increasing daily, it is imperative for the student body to continue following the protocols that are in place — whether vaccinated or not. 

Despite these qualifications, however, many students remained excited for what they see as the onset of a “return to normalcy.” Katelyn Collins ’23 noted that she was “optimistic that as more students take the action of getting vaccinated, we will start to see the effects and Bucknell will be able to return to normal sooner rather than later,” adding, “I feel like I did my part by getting vaccinated and I feel safer on campus knowing that I am better protected to some degree.”

Many students share this positive sentiment and although cases continue to rise in the “second wave” to rock campus this semester, the number of students taking action to prevent the spread of the virus through vaccination is also increasing. Administrators seem to hope that if students follow safety precautions and schedule vaccinations, the University will be able to finish out these last few weeks of the semester on a high note.

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