UIndy, Franklin College provide vaccine to staff, students

The University of Indianapolis and Franklin College have offered students additional opportunities to receive vaccination against COVID-19.

On Monday, Franklin College officials announced a limited amount of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine available to students that day only, and ended up administering about 70 shots.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires just one dose for immunization, as opposed to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which both require two doses.

Franklin College administrators aren’t sure of when or if they’ll be a longer-term vaccination site for staff and students, but that decision should come in the next few weeks, said Andrew Jones, vice president of student development and dean of students, in an email.

The University of Indianapolis will begin hosting on-campus vaccinations for students and staff members next week. The college will receive 500 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from the Indiana State Department of Health, administrators announced in an email to staff and students earlier this week.

Although the 500 doses received by the University of Indianapolis represents a fraction of the student body of about 5,500, many students have had the ability to get vaccinated for months. Those involved in the medical field were eligible for their shots as early as December and all students and staff members 16 years of age and older were eligible for the vaccine starting in March, said Robert Manuel, the college’s president.

The more students get vaccinated, the closer the University of Indianapolis can get to herd immunity, which will allow the college to ease some gathering restrictions and hold more campus events, Manuel said.

Herd immunity is achieved when enough of the population is vaccinated to mitigate the spread of the virus significantly.

“The goal, like anywhere, is to get to herd immunity,” Manuel said. “(It’s to) inoculate our group and be able to return to (our) lives with a higher degree of normalcy.”

Although the college won’t require students and staff members to get the vaccine, it will encourage them to do so, he said.

“The university is focusing on the benefits of the vaccines and asking students to get it when eligible,” Manuel said.

Franklin College will follow the same strategy, Jones said in an email.

“At this point, we do not anticipate requiring the vaccine of students,” Jones said. “Should circumstances change, we will consider adjusting our policy accordingly.”