BREAKING: COVID-19 vaccinations available on campus beginning Thursday

By Mateusz Janik, Staff Reporter

Kaylie Slack

Columbia students and employees will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on campus beginning tomorrow, according to a Wednesday, April 21 campuswide email from the college.

This comes two days after another collegewide email announced that all students will be required to be vaccinated for the Fall 2021 semester, as reported by the Chronicle April 19.

According to the April 21 email, the college has received “several hundred” doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the city of Chicago and will reserve them for Columbia students and employees residing in Chicago starting Thursday, April 22.

Lambrini Lukidis, associate vice president of Strategic Communications and External Relations, said the college has talked “extensively” with the Student Government Association and has conducted polls to get a sense of faculty and staff willingness to be vaccinated.

Lukidis said to be eligible to receive a vaccination, students must be currently enrolled in the Spring 2021 semester and live within Chicago city limits at the time of their first dose. Students or employees who leave Chicago for the summer are still eligible as long as they receive their first dose before they leave the city.

Columbia is also working on securing doses from the state of Illinois to offer vaccines that do not require a Chicago residency.

To avoid wasting doses, Lukidis said students and employees leaving the city must specify if they can return to campus in time for their second dose. Students and employees who get vaccinated on campus must receive both doses through the college.

“We’re going to do our best to vaccinate as many people as we can,” Lukidis said. “We always knew that we were going to be getting fewer doses than we have students and employees … based on the distribution and what we expected to get from the city.”

The Moderna vaccine requires a waiting period of 28 days between doses, and the college will require students and employees who leave the city to return four weeks after their first dose to get a second shot.

Columbia is the first Illinois college to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine for returning students.

Two days after Columbia’s announcement, DePaul University also stated it will require students to get the vaccine before returning to campus for the fall, as reported by the DePaulia on April 21.

To receive the vaccine, members of the Columbia community can sign up to be notified of vaccine appointments via VAXQ.

While the college is welcoming walk-in appointments on the first floor of the 618 S. Michigan Ave. building Mondays through Fridays between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., it still recommends registering through the VAXQ system to secure a vaccination slot.

As the college waits for doses from the state of Illinois, Lukidis said the number of doses on campus will be limited and recommends students and employees find access to the vaccine through non-campus providers if possible.

“I think at a lot of institutions of higher education … students and faculty and staff are really looking forward to just coming back to campus,” Lukidis said.

“We’re grateful for the generosity of the city of Chicago for giving us these doses.”