Boston University announced that it will host student COVID-19 vaccination clinics this week in an email from Student Health Services Friday. The University began administering the Moderna vaccine Monday at BU Fitness and Recreation Center.
Students, faculty and staff can schedule an appointment to receive their first dose through the Patient Connect portal. The University will hold second dose clinics June 2-4, but individuals can also schedule their second dose at a COVID-19 clinic with Moderna doses near their permanent residence, the email said.
The email also advised that individuals register as soon as possible because appointments will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
BU spokesperson Colin Riley said the University received about 4,000 doses of the vaccine from Boston Medical Center for the clinics.
“I think it’s terrific that students now have the opportunity to get vaccinated, if they’re able during this week to schedule an appointment,” Riley said. “I’m on campus and I stopped by there … it was busy at the beginning, which was good.”
In April, the University said they would require that students receive COVID-19 vaccinations for the Fall, and would help vaccinate those who need it.
David Hamer, BU professor of global health and medicine and member of BU’s Medical Advisory Group, said the University is “fully prepared” to administer the vaccine to students and staff.
“I think we have excellent systems in place to do that, and for documentation, so I’m not worried at all about that,” Hamer said. “I think it’s a challenge in terms of timing because we’re almost at the end of the semester.”
Undergraduate international students who live on campus can remain in University housing for up to a month to receive their second vaccine dose, Riley said. Students must apply for the extension through the My Housing Portal, and the extension would allow individuals to stay through June 11 at no additional charge.
Riley also said community members can receive their second dose through BU even if they received their first dose from somewhere else.
BU previously administered 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible community members early in the semester, but suspended it’s vaccination program after the state of Massachusetts ordered a prioritization of mass public vaccination sites over higher educational institutions.
“We were fortunate enough to have doses provided to us by Boston Medical Center,” Hamer said. “The state had basically refused to provide any more doses to not just BU, but many other universities and colleges across the state.”
Bailey Shen, a sophomore in the College of General Studies, received his first Moderna dose Tuesday from the BU vaccination clinic.
Shen said the process of receiving a vaccine was “pretty structured” and simple.
“You go in and check in, it’s the same as the COVID test,” Shen said. “They sit you down and they have some questions. They ask you about your preferences and if you have allergies. It’s pretty straightforward.”
Shen said he plans on receiving his second dose in his home state of California. But he said the process of receiving the vaccine at BU was quick and easy, especially given the staff.
“The entire thing, minus the 15 minute wait time, took less than 10 minutes, so it was pretty fast,” he said. “The person who administered my test was also very friendly, and was willing to answer questions I had. It was just a very smooth experience.”
Aya Kassem, an international student from Lebanon and a freshman in the College of Engineering, said she received her first dose of the vaccine last week at Hynes Convention Center. She said she plans on staying in Boston to receive her second dose before flying back.
“I think that the fact that they’re providing it encourages students to get vaccinated,” Kassem said. “It’s here on campus, it’s easy and accessible.”
Kassem said he thinks a vaccination clinic at the end of the semester might be difficult, especially for students who have already made plans to go back home.
“Even though BU did say that they will be providing housing for students who want to get their second dose before leaving, it makes things more complicated,” Kassem said. “People already have their flights booked and they already have their plans set.”
Kanade Shiono, a freshman in the College of General Studies and an international student from Japan, said she received her first vaccine dose from a local CVS pharmacy about two weeks ago.
Shiono said she found BU’s vaccination offer to be “really convenient,” as she thinks it will make it “easier for us to return to campus next semester in full.”
“I think it’s really good,” she said, “because [if everybody] gets a vaccine, it’s easier for us to return to campus next semester.”