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NDSU vaccine clinics help pave way 'back to normal', school health official says

College-age populations are a potentially significant avenue for COVID-19 spread, as the North Dakota COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard indicates the adult age group with the lowest first-dose vaccination rate is the 18-29 age group, with a vaccination rate of 24.6%

campus vaccine clinic
Kylie Hall, project coordinator for the North Dakota State University Department of Public Health Center for Immunization Research and Education, said a campus-based vaccine clinic held Wednesday, April 14, went smoothly despite a last-minute switch to using the Pfizer vaccine instead of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which the clinic had planned to use. David Olson/The Forum.

FARGO — A one-day vaccination clinic was held on the North Dakota State University campus Wednesday, April 14, with the goal of vaccinating about 1,000 students, faculty and staff.

Just before noon, organizers said it appeared they would hit that goal, as more than 900 people had already reserved timeslots to receive a shot.

NDSU has a student population of about 13,000, according to school officials.

College-age populations are a potentially significant avenue for COVID-19 spread, as the North Dakota COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard indicates the adult age group with the lowest first-dose vaccination rate is the 18-29 age group, with a vaccination rate of 24.6%

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North Dakota state numbers show 18-29 age group has lowest one-dose vaccination rate

"It's really important that everybody on campus gets vaccinated, because that's how we get back together and that's how we get back to normal," said Kylie Hall, project coordinator for the NDSU Department of Public Health Center for Immunization Research and Education.

Hall said Wednesday morning the clinic was going smoothly despite a major course change that took place Tuesday after national health officials called for a "pause" in the dispensing of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The pause was ordered after six women in the U.S. who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine experienced an unusual form of blood clotting. One died from the reaction.

The NDSU vaccine clinic had planned to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but in coordination with Sanford Health the Pfizer vaccine was substituted instead.

Those visiting the clinic at the Sanford Health Complex on campus Wednesday received an initial dose of the Pfizer vaccine and Hall said a follow-up clinic will be held at NDSU May 6, where people may receive their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

A campus clinic held March 31 vaccinated more than 600 students, faculty and staff with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Hall said Wednesday that those who received Johnson & Johnson shots at the March clinic will soon be past the time when people are believed to be most at risk for experiencing the type of serious side effects seen in about six people out of the more than 7 million who have received the vaccine.

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Hall advised that if people are worried they should watch for symptoms including leg pain, abdominal pain, severe headaches and shortness of breath, and notify a healthcare provider if they have concerns.

If clotting symptoms do show up, Hill said it is important that medical workers be told if the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was in the picture, as it would affect how the disorder is treated.

Nevaeh Vasquez, an NDSU freshman majoring in elementary education, said Wednesday she received her vaccine shot on campus and did so because her mother is in a high-risk category for COVID-19.

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North Dakota State University student Nevaeh Vasquez gives her opinion of COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday, April 14, 2021, on the day NDSU planned to administer 1,000 vaccinations to students, faculty and staff in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

"When I go home, it's just nice to know that I'll have it," Vasquez said, adding that she plans to work as a nanny this summer and she didn't want that family to be at risk, either.

Madison Meier, an NDSU junior majoring in marketing, said Wednesday she had yet to get a vaccine shot.

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"I'm kind of just waiting it out a little bit and seeing what happens. But, if other people are doing it, that's great," Meier said, adding she wants to be sure those who need the vaccine more than she does, "like older folks," receive it ahead of her.

"Then maybe I'll get mine," she said.

As of Wednesday, Elizabeth Lyle hadn't been vaccinated either.

"But I think it's great we're given the opportunity on campus," said Lyle, an NDSU sophomore majoring in hospitality and tourism management.

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North Dakota State University student Elizabeth Lyle gives her opinion of COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday, April 14, 2021, on the day NDSU planned to administer 1,000 vaccinations to students, faculty and staff in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Lyle said one reason she hasn't received a shot yet is that she's concerned about possible side effects and their potential impact on school and work.

She said she might get vaccinated once the school year ends.

"That way, if something did happen I could take my time, if needed," Lyle said.

NDSU students Jack Law and Aydrik Schuh said Wednesday they both had COVID-19. Law said he planned to get a vaccine shot on campus Wednesday afternoon.

"I just think it's important to protect people. I'm not so much worried about myself, but my grandparents, my other relatives," said Law, who plans to graduate soon with a degree in computer science.

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North Dakota State University student Jack Law gives his opinion of COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday, April 14, 2021, on the day NDSU planned to administer 1,000 vaccinations to students, faculty and staff in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Schuh, a junior majoring in electrical engineering, said he has been reluctant to get vaccinated but will probably do so in the next week or two, just to be safe.

"You want to protect the people you love," he said, adding that the consensus he's noticed on campus seems to be: "If you have the time, do it."

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North Dakota State University student Aydrik Schuh gives his opinion of COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday, April 14, 2021, on the day NDSU planned to administer 1,000 vaccinations to students, faculty and staff in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Meier had a different take on student attitudes and said she sees views on the vaccine as being evenly split.

"I feel like it's down the middle, almost," Meier said.

"Some people get it (the vaccine) and some people are, like, 'I can wait, I don't need it right now," she added.

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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