As more Americans are getting vaccinated for COVID-19, students have many questions about how and when they will be able to get their vaccine. IU plans on having entirely in-person classes for the fall 2021 semester, and part of this plan is getting students vaccinated as soon as possible. In order for students to get the vaccine they will need to meet the state’s guidelines for eligibility.
Dr. Lana Dbeibo is an assistant professor at the IU School of Medicine and the director of Infection Prevention at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. She is also a part of IU’s COVID-19 Medical Response Team as the director of vaccine initiatives, so she is in charge of managing vaccine roll out across IU campuses.
Answers have been lightly edited for style and brevity.
IDS: When will students be able to get vaccinated through IU?
Dbeibo: March 29 is when the sites will open, but it will only open to those students who are eligible for the state’s current criteria. So even though it is an IU site, we go off of the state's criteria for vaccination. If they're not health care workers or students with certain health conditions, then they would not be eligible right now. We're hopeful that in the next few weeks we'll have more clarity on when all the other students would be eligible. There was talk from the government that they would like everyone to be eligible by May 1.
IDS: Will IU provide vaccines?
Dbeibo: Yes, we are working on it. We will get as many vaccines as the state will be able to give us, and when we applied to the state, we factored in all of the numbers of students and faculty that would need the vaccine. So we're hoping that yes, we will have a vaccine for everyone who needs to be vaccinated at our site in the next coming months.
IDS: Will students have to pay for the vaccine or will it be given to them for free?
Dbeibo: Vaccines are provided at no cost to everyone. People may be asked about their insurance card or an administration fee, which is very minimal, but that is not a requirement if they don't have insurance, because this is all covered by the state and the government.
IDS: Will the vaccine be required for students that plan to live on campus in the summer 2021 semester or the fall 2021 semester?
Dbeibo: So as of now, this is not on the table because the students are not eligible in Indiana, and because we don't have enough vaccines for everyone. We hope that everybody would get vaccinated so we don't even have to get to that possibility in the future, but that is something that would be continuing as we get more through the next few months. Whether or not we would require it, we don't have an answer for that right now, but we hope we never have to get there and everyone is eager to be vaccinated.
IDS: Where will students be able to get their vaccination?
Dbeibo: In Bloomington we have a collaboration with Assembly Hall, so starting March 29 anyone who is eligible, whether its students or anyone from the county, will be able to get their vaccines there.
IDS: Since some students have chosen to do school from home this year, will they also be able to get vaccinated through IU?
Dbeibo: Yes, regardless if they study online, once they become eligible and meet the criteria, they're more than welcome to come to our site. We will certainly give them the vaccine just like we do for anyone, the more people we get vaccinated, that's what we want. Our goal is not only to keep those that are on campus healthy, but all of our students, even those that are off campus.