As of Wednesday, many Kenyon students are starting to get vaccinated for COVID-19, after Knox Public Health (KPH) announced via social media that their weekly Wednesday vaccine clinic at Mount Vernon High School would be open to those 16 and older.
KPH expanded vaccine eligibility as a follow-up to the authorization that Gov. Mike DeWine announced at a vaccination clinic in Youngstown on Monday. He stated that the 1,300 vaccination sites in Ohio are to make any remaining vaccine appointments immediately available to those 16 or older. This authorization is intended to ensure the Ohio Department of Health is making full use of the state’s weekly allotment of vaccines.
As of Wednesday, 2.9 million Ohioans have received at least one shot of the vaccine, and 1,500 Ohioans are contracting COVID-19 daily. Additionally, Knox County is at an orange level for the second straight week after staying red for several months. Though cases are dropping in Knox County, an update to the College’s COVID-19 Dashboard on Wednesday showed three new active student cases — the first student cases on campus since early March. There was also one employee positive test this week, but according to President Sean Decatur, the employee was already in quarantine when they received their test result.
“While we have not had a positive for several weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic is still active,” Director of Cox Health and Counseling Chris Smith wrote in a message to the Collegian. “I encourage all students to continue consistency and intentionality regarding COVID-19 prevention.” He noted that even if students have received the vaccine, they should keep in mind that they will receive its full benefits until two weeks after the second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna shot.
After news of extra doses circulated throughout the campus community, the Office of Communications sent an email on Wednesday to students and faculty encouraging them to take advantage of the opportunity. As a result, a number of students and faculty received vaccinations at the Wednesday clinic. After about an hour, however, KPH posted again on social media saying that they were out of vaccine supply for the day.
Vaccine appointments became available on March 19 for Ohioans who are over 40, as well as those who qualified under previous vaccine rollout phases. Additionally, Kenyon student workers were also eligible to receive the vaccine at KPH before March 29, when it will open up to all students.
The College is working closely with KPH on possibly coordinating a vaccination clinic on campus. On Wednesday morning, the College sent an email with a vaccine interest survey to gather information from students and employees about how many doses the whole campus will require. In the meantime, the Knox Area Transit is providing free transportation throughout Knox County for anyone who needs to get vaccinated.
“Kenyon’s goal is to get our students access to the vaccine as quickly as local supply and opportunity allow,” said Director of Health and Counseling Chris Smith. Decatur noted that he believes that mass vaccinations “should be possible as we look to the near future.”
Many students were thrilled about how receiving both doses of the vaccine will allow them to feel a bit of normalcy.
“I am so excited that I got my shot,” said Katie Mazzolini ’23. “My grandparents live in Mount Vernon and have gotten both their shots, so me getting vaccinated gets us even closer to being able to hug each other again.”