On April 8th, 2021, Union College’s COVID-19 updates account sent out two separate emails, one to students and one to faculty. These emails were in regard to COVID-19 vaccines becoming available on Union College’s campus. Initially, Union College was able to acquire 600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the doses were given out on April 9th and April 12th of 2021. After these initial doses, the CDC announced on Tuesday, April 13th, that the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines should be put on pause for distribution due to rare blood clotting occurring in female adults who had received the vaccine, with 6 cases in 7 million total doses.
Upon the notice given by the CDC, Union College ceased distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to students, with Philip Wajda, the Director of Media and Public Relations for Union College, stating that Union is “storing the unused doses until further guidance.” In addition to this, Union College was able to switch over to the Moderna brand COVID-19 vaccine for both students and employees at Union College.
On Wednesday, April 14th, students and employees were both able to go to the Viniar Athletic Center for walk-in COVID-19 vaccination appointments. It is unknown if Union received more doses of Moderna vaccinations than what the college initially had access to, or if these Moderna vaccines are the same ones advertised in the email sent to employees only on April 8th. After the initial walk-in appointments on April 14th, further vaccinations with the Moderna vaccine were given out through appointments that students and employees could fill out through their emails. The Union College COVID-19 updates account has stated that the college will be able to acquire enough vaccines for the second dosage of the Moderna vaccine.
Starting April 19th, 2021, individuals at Union College who are fully vaccinated were given permission to cease weekly testing for COVID-19. Students and employees now only need to test when they want to or if they feel they may be exposed or experiencing symptoms. In addition, students and employees who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to quarantine if they are exposed to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. The definition used by the COVID-19 updates account for “fully vaccinated” means two weeks have passed since the individual received the final dose of their vaccine.
Other schools around the United States have begun to make it a requirement that students return back fully vaccinated by the fall term of 2021. Schools such as Boston University, Brown University, and Columbia University have all required that all students, residential or not, must be vaccinated to return to school in the fall term. Some schools are also requiring staff to be vaccinated, such as Clark Atlanta University and George Washington University. According to Wajda, Union College has not yet decided upon requirements for fall term when it comes to vaccinations.