Campus News Health & Wellness

UGA vaccine clinics making an impact

A nurse gives a vaccine shot to a student.
Department of Public Health nurse Tricia Ellis gives a COVID-19 vaccine to undergraduate Zarae Allen at a Popup Vaccine Clinic at the Tate Student Center. (Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)

On-campus clinics offer walk-up availability, chance to win incentives

Vaccine clinics offered on the University of Georgia’s campus have provided easy and convenient opportunities for students, faculty and staff to receive COVID-19 vaccinations – and those opportunities are continuing through Sept. 2.

The University Health Center and local office of the Georgia Department of Health have partnered to offer the first of several vaccine clinics at the Tate Student Center on campus. In addition to vaccine appointments available at the UHC, these on-campus clinics offer walk-ups for those looking for a timely and practical option.

A woman hands a student a T-shirt after she got her vaccine.

UHC administrative associate Jennifer Nealey gives a T-shirt to undergraduate Gracelyn Hughes after she got a COVID-19 vaccine at a Popup Vaccine Clinic at the Tate Student Center. (Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)

The on-campus clinics with walk-up availability will continue to be held at the Tate Center from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Aug. 23-26, 30-31, and Sept. 2. Vaccinations are also available by appointment at the UHC.

“To be able to offer vaccines at a central location like Tate at the beginning of the school year when everyone is busy and has so much going on has really been a positive thing for us and made a big difference in helping vaccinate our community,” said Jennifer Swails, interim executive director for University Health Center. “We’ve seen a great turnout so far, thanks to the convenient location and the incentives being offered.”

UGA has offered a $20 gift card and specially designed T-shirt to all who get vaccinated through the UHC since mid-July, but on August 10, sweetened the pot to also include the chance for those being vaccinated to win one of 10 $100 gift cards being awarded each Friday. To date, 20 individuals have won.

“The big drawing, which everyone is excited about, is the $100 gift card. You sign up for the vaccine, you get your vaccine and sign a little card saying you’ll be in the drawing for $100, and I won it,” said Steven Poninski, a University Health Center staff member. “I think we need to have everyone on campus get the vaccine. That way, we can get back to normal.”

At the on-campus clinic hosted Thursday, Aug. 19, a total of 68 individuals were vaccinated – a rate far exceeding the local DPH’s experience with other community vaccination efforts. The UHC has administered 24,942 vaccinations as of Aug. 20. To facilitate increased demand prompted by the incentive program, additional appointments have been added.

Based on guidance from the University System of Georgia, UGA cannot require students, faculty or staff to be vaccinated in order to be on campus, but vaccinations are strongly encouraged.