Out-of-state IU students will be able to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Indiana despite an Indiana State Department of Health guideline only allowing residents to receive a vaccine in the state, Monroe County Health Department Administrator Penny Caudill said Friday in a press conference.
It could be months before a significant number of students are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine but when eligibility opens up out-of-state students should be able to be vaccinated in Indiana, Caudill said. The ISDH determines when more residents are eligible to receive a vaccine. Eligibility is expanded when officials determine enough of the current eligibility group has received their vaccinations.
“If a student falls in the eligibility category that we're in, and they can show that they are in fact living here, then they would be eligible,” Caudill said. “So maybe they have an apartment or live on campus.”
A student’s permanent address should not matter, Caudill said. The previous guideline stated that to receive a vaccine in Indiana a person needed to work or live in the state. The policy change to only allow Indiana residents to receive a vaccine had more to do with interstate travel than college students.
“This actually is more about people crossing state lines to get vaccine,” Caudill said. “We saw most of that in those border counties.”
Any person who lives outside Indiana but received a first dose of the vaccine within state borders will be allowed to get a second dose in the Hoosier state, Caudill said.
IU’s plan to open a vaccination site on its Bloomington campus could soon come to fruition, IU Bloomington COVID Response Unit Lead Kirk White said.
“We hope that perhaps next month we'll be able to actually get that stood up and assist the county, as a regional vaccination site,” White said.
IU wants to get as many students vaccinated as possible because the university sees it as a key to return to a fully in-person course schedule next fall, White said. IU announced this week classes would be in person for the fall semester, but said some COVID-19 precautions may still be necessary, such as moving to remote learning between Thanksgiving and winter break.
White said the university set up a symptomatic testing site recently at the IU Student Health Center on campus. Previously, IU referred students to a different provider for symptomatic testing, White said.
“If you're having symptoms, you shouldn't go to one of the normal mitigation testing sites because we want to continue to control the spread,” he said. “Instead, go to our website, and you can check our symptom checker, and get scheduled for a test at the student health center.”
White also discussed IU’s plan to conduct an in-person commencement ceremony for classes of 2020 and 2021.
“We're not sure where it will be in May,” he said. “We're still being vigilant about the variants that may come our way so let's continue to be careful as you're making those plans.”