OU regional campuses experience low vaccination rates compared to Athens campus

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Like the Ohio University COVID-19 vaccination on November 15 deadline approaches, the vaccination rates of its regional campuses are much lower than those of the Athens campus.

OU’s Athens campus currently leads regional campuses in terms of vaccination rates by a wide margin. As of September 15, 72.9% of students and employees at the Athens campus are vaccinated, while the second most vaccinated campus is OU Southern, with an vaccination rate of 36.8% of its employees and students.

Despite the difference in rates on OU campuses, Gillian Ice, the president’s special assistant for public health operations, said all OU students, regardless of location, receive the same information on OU campuses. vaccinations against COVID-19.

Marisa Newland, a senior English and psychology student at OU’s Chillicothe campus, said she had not felt excluded from academic information regarding COVID-19 and the vaccine.

“We are constantly receiving information by e-mail. So I think I feel pretty much in the loop that way, ”Newland said.

Newland also said she believes the university has given students enough information about the vaccine and where to get it. Currently, 35.3% of the total population of OU Chillicothe is vaccinated.

Nicole Pennington, Executive Dean of Regional Higher Education, oversees all of the OU’s regional campuses and has kept tabs on their immunization rates. The lower regional campus rates may be a result of the variety of their students’ learning paths, Pennington said. Regional campuses offer classes to students ranging from high school students who earn college credits to members of the local community who hold jobs alongside classes, and communicating vaccine information can be difficult when much of the population student population is not on campus every day.

“We have also found that the vaccination rates on our campuses reflect the general vaccination rates of the surrounding community,” Pennington said in an email.

It’s also possible that students on regional campuses who take courses entirely online won’t know the mandate applies to them, Ice said. Students on regional campuses may also not have completed their COVID-19 vaccination course.

Students at regional campuses vary not only in style of education, but also in their views on how the OU has handled COVID-19 vaccines.

“I don’t see why (vaccinations have to) be forced, and I wish everyone had an option,” said Maisey Russell, an indecisive freshman at the OU’s Lancaster campus. “I wish we could continue to wear the masks and do the weekly tests, but I guess that doesn’t work anymore.”

Currently, 33.7% of all students and employees at OU Lancaster are vaccinated.

Another possible reason why immunization rates are lower on regional campuses is that College Credit Plus students who are not taking classes on campus are not yet required to receive the vaccine, although they are included in the plans. campus vaccination rate, Pennington said.

“We regularly share information about vaccinations, but making connections on this topic with the wide variety of student populations can be difficult, especially since many of them are not physically on campus every day,” he said. Pennington said in an email.

Ice and Pennington agree that regional campus locations, regional student educational circumstances, and the possibility that not all students have completed their immunization routes may be the reason their rates are low. Students at the regional campus have other ideas as to why this is the case.

“I think a lot of this is due to mistrust and misinformation within the community, not even necessarily just on campus, but also within the surrounding community,” Newland said. “I think COVID is a very scary thing, and I also think people are afraid of the potential side effects of the vaccine. And that gives rise to a lot of hesitation.

Like Newland, Russell said she was apprehensive about the vaccine due to stories she had heard from other people who had received it.

“It just intimidates me,” Russell said. “I’m not absolutely against or against anyone getting it, but it was the fastest vaccine ever made. I hear stories from people about side effects… not from everyone, but (from) some people, you hear scary ones.

@AddieHedges

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