Quinnipiac students eligible for COVID-19 vaccination starting April 1

Katie Langley , Staff Writer

Gov. Ned Lamont announced that all Connecticut residents 16 and older will be eligible to register for COVID-19 vaccinations starting April 1. All Quinnipiac students currently living in Connecticut are eligible to be vaccinated, including out-of-state and international students.

Quinnipiac University held its fourth virtual advisory panel on COVID-19 vaccinations Tuesday, March 30. The panel, which included faculty experts from the schools of health sciences, medicine and law, encouraged all students to sign up to get any of the three approved vaccines.



“Medical advice from national health authorities in the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that vaccines are safe and highly protective, and we encourage you to sign up for the first appointment available to you,” said Janelle Chiasera, dean of the School of Health Sciences and moderator of the panel. 

Students can register for a vaccination appointment through the state’s vaccine administration management system, scheduling directly with a provider or calling the vaccine appointment assist line at 877-918-2224. The administration recommends that students bring their Quinnipiac ID on the day of their appointment.

With 30.4 million total reported COVID-19 cases in the United States and 180 million vaccines delivered, the panelists said that though the country is approaching the last leg of the marathon, it is not time to give up protective measures. Patients are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after the last dose of their vaccine, regardless of whether it is a one or two-dose vaccination. 

“Please remember that not everyone you come into contact with will have received the vaccine, and you still may be able to spread COVID-19,” Chiasera said. “Therefore, it’s absolutely critical for everyone to do the simple things to protect one another. Continue to wear a mask, wash your hands regularly, stay socially distant and avoid travel and crowds.” 

The panelists attributed the community’s success this semester concerning COVID-19 policies to the students. 

“In the fall, we had a challenge, we had a spike of cases and we had to really close things down and I don’t think anybody wanted to return to that, so when they came back from the winter break, we had a clear message that we really needed to all do our part,” said Dr. David Hill, professor of medical sciences and senior medical advisor for the COVID-19 task-force. “We also chose to test all of our students weekly, so that each week we have a clear picture of how we’re doing.” 

The university has administered 53,000 COVID-19 tests to students since the beginning of the semester resulting in a 0.5% positivity rate. Hill said that  administration will continue to take prompt action if it identifies clusters of cases, but are also committed to rewarding the success of the community. 

“As we continue to do well, we’re also opening up our campus,” Hill said. “… Let’s put our heads down and keep running for that finish line.”  

Dr. Richard Eadie, co-chair of the Connecticut COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group and president and CEO of Trinity Health of New England, was also a speaker at the panel. Eadie addressed vaccine hesitancy among communities of color, saying that the country should first ensure that it has adequate vaccine services, which President Joe Biden has promised to have by the end of May.

“It’s our responsibility to ensure that we address the concerns and answer the questions,” Eadie said. 

Eadie said that the ultimate goal of the vaccine effort is to reach herd immunity, with around 70-85% immune to the virus. The best way to achieve this is through vaccination. 

Last week, Rutgers University announced that it would require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to return to campus for the fall 2021 semester. The panelists said the vaccination requirement to work or attend school is currently under legal debate. 

“We haven’t made a decision to mandate (vaccines) at this point,” said Elicia Spearman, general counsel and vice president of human resources at Quinnipiac. “We are allowed as a private institution to mandate if we want to, but we haven’t made that decision because we want people to voluntarily decide whether they want to get vaccinated for the good of the community and for their own health.” 

The administration also has not decided whether to require proof of vaccination in order to enter campus. However, the panelists stressed that the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh any logistics imposed by the university. 

“I look ahead to the possible benefits, is that if you’re vaccinated and you’re a student at Quinnipiac, you don’t have to go into isolation or quarantine if you’re exposed,” Hill said. “I am sure we’ll get to the point where you won’t have to be tested if you’ve been vaccinated … you’ll be able to gather in small clusters without masks.”There are lots of benefits to being vaccinated.” 

Lisa Cuchara, professor of biomedical sciences, said that side effects may occur 24-48 hours after receiving the vaccine. However, side effects are evidence of proper immune system function, and therefore not a substantial health concern. 

“The next day, you might feel icky … some people don’t even want to go to work or classes the next day,” Cuchara said. “It’s a small percentage of people that might have fever or chills, but it’s actually an indication that an immune system is working.” 

The panelists expressed that they could not imagine a reason why Quinnipiac students would not be eager to get the vaccine, as it can prevent severe illness and death. In addition, early studies have shown that vaccines are likely safe for younger children and pregnant women. 

Even those who have already had the virus should be vaccinated, and should only wait if they are hospitalized, quarantined or received antibody treatment. Those with allergies are also encouraged to get the vaccine and wait 30 minutes after it is administered in their place of vaccination.  

“Why be vaccinated? Because you will protect yourself and you will protect others,” Hill said.