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Heritage Hall

Graph by Ben Peters.

By Sydney Dawes

Athens NEWS Editor

Ohio University in the coming days will host COVID-19 vaccination clinics on campus for students who wish to be immunized.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced during a press conference Thursday that the state will begin working with local colleges and universities to offer vaccination clinics to their students on campuses.

OU’s clinics will start this week at Heritage Hall in Athens and will offer the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to an email OU President Duane Nellis sent to students and faculty.

The vaccine, which was granted emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration in February, was found in clinical trials to be safe and effective at preventing severe cases of COVID-19, hospitalization and death.

Students on any OU campus can attend the Athens-based clinics, according to Nellis. The university is exploring whether allocations will be available for regional campuses at a later date.

Athens City-County Health Department (ACCHD) staff and nurses will manage the campus clinics, with volunteer support from the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and the College of Health Sciences and Professions School of Nursing, the email stated.

Students are expected receive texts and emails from the university’s COVID Operations office with details on clinic dates and times, and an access code for making an appointment online.

The state will make weekly deliveries of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to OU for the next three weeks, according to Nellis. There is no cost associated with the vaccine for students.

He encouraged students to “take advantage of the opportunity.”

“While many students may not be at high risk of complications from the virus, young adults contribute significantly to community spread of the virus,” he said.

In light of the news, Nellis’ letter details that Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayers requested that the university’s fall curriculum planning group re-review course delivery methods before course offerings for the fall semester go live. Ohio’s colleges and campuses, Nellis said, are identifying classes that could be moved from online to in-person should guidelines change.

OU announced in March plans to expand in-person operations for the upcoming summer and fall semesters.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 4,887 confirmed and probable cases of the virus have been reported in Athens County, as well as 54 related deaths, according to the Athens City-County Health Department. Currently. 141 cases are active in the county.

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