UAB participating in White House COVID-19 Vaccine Challenge

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 9:13 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The White House and U.S. Department of Education are urging younger college age students to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s called the COVID-19 Vaccine Challenge. White House officials are asking universities to take three steps to promote the vaccine and UAB is the only college in the state participating.

“We are looking for thousands more,” Assistant Vice President for Student Health and Wellbeing Dr. Rebecca Kennedy said.

Dr. Kennedy said many UAB students have already been vaccinated, but some students have delayed getting the COVID-19 vaccine because of school workload and finals season..

“We hear that it’s inconvenient,” she said. “They actually have to go somewhere to get it. They have to make an appointment.”

But now that it’s summer, UAB is hoping to catch students up on their vaccinations. The campus is participating in the White House COVID-19 Vaccine Challenge and working to deliver three things.

“We are making a commitment to engage every student, staff and faculty member, and organize ourselves in terms of vaccines and deliver vaccine access to everyone,” Dr. Kennedy said.

UAB is using incentives to encourage shots, like not requiring masks for fully vaccinated students.

“Many students are going ahead and prioritizing, going ahead and getting that vaccine and becoming fully vaccinated because they do not want to wear a mask anymore,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said they are also offering gifts cards if you get vaccinated at the campus clinic on June 8.

“Any student has a chance to win a $250 Amazon gift card,” she said. “We’ve got five of them to give away.”

The state isn’t requiring students to be vaccinated, but health officials said the White House campaign could help improve rates in younger age groups.

“They are in a lot of social groups,” Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH said. “A lot of kids getting together in classrooms and colleges, so we absolutely want young people to take advantage of this.”

Kennedy said UAB is hoping to vaccinate as many students as possible before the fall semester.

The student vaccination clinic as part of the campaign will be at Bartow Arena on June 8 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

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