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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Vielmetti Health Center secures vaccines for students

Vielmetti+Health+Center+secures+vaccines+for+students

In a campus email update sent by university President Fritz Erickson on April 9, students were informed that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been secured and would be available by appointment on April 13 and 14. Today, April 12, Erickson sent another update indicating all the appointment times on April 13 has been filled and were now waitlist only. There is still availability for Wednesday.

The vaccination is only open to part and full-time students but offers an opportunity to be fully vaccinated before returning home after the semester. Distribution of the vaccine will be held in the former cafeteria in the Northern Center, near the testing distribution site on Tuesday between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and on Wednesday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“The reasons to vaccinate are many. Individuals who vaccinate:

  • decrease the risk of being drastically ill or hospitalized if infected with COVID-19
  • decrease the risk of transmitting the virus to family, friends, classmates, colleagues and their communities
  • may not have to quarantine if identified as a close contact (and in Michigan, the quarantine length has gone back up to the full 14 days)
  • increase the NMU community’s percentage of protected individuals, which in turn, helps to get Northern closer to lifting pandemic protocols. It helps the efforts toward face-to-face instruction, less restrictive on-campus living and working, and being able to hold and participate in large group campus activities,” Erickson said.

Students who already have their Moderna or Pfizer vaccine scheduled are able to receive their second shot from their home clinician. Dr. Chistopher Kirkpatrick, medical director of the Vielmetti Health Center, breaks down potential options for vaccinations and time frames.

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“When we talk about the time frame for you to get immunity from these vaccines it’s usually two weeks after completing the whole series. If it’s the single shot, we’re looking at one shot and done and in two weeks you should have some immunity,” Kirkpatrick said.

Individuals who receive the Moderna vaccination have to wait four weeks between the first and second shot, then another two weeks before they are considered to have some immunity, Kirkpatrick said. There is an option for students who are concerned about traveling home and finding a place to receive their second shot.

Numbers in Michigan have been on the rise again, and governor Gretchen Whitmer advised the state to pause restaurants and in-person classes for two weeks in order to reduce case numbers. 

“I heard from other health departments that the three recommendations that she made—it doesn’t seem a lot of people are complying. I don’t think a lot of the high schools have paused, sports have not discontinued at the high school or middle school level, and the restaurants. It’s concerning,” Kirkpatrick said.

Despite cases rising in Michigan, Kirkpatrick is optimistic NMU will continue to make appropriate decisions based on data. The University secured 600 vaccines for the Tuesday and Wednesday dates, and Kirkpatrick is hopeful that these vaccines will continue to come in and that the department will soon be able to give vaccines out to more than just students.

“These are earmarked for students and we are only doing students Tuesday and Wednesday. If there are additional allocations and the [Marquette] health department starts giving out their vaccine doses to us as well, I think that throughout the spring and summer here we will have more vaccines,” Kirkpatrick said.

The CDC offers information on those who have been vaccinated and what those individuals can and shouldn’t do. Those who have not received their second shot are not considered fully vaccinated and should continue to maintain COVID-19 precautions, according to the CDC.

Even after a full vaccination, the CDC advises against medium and large gatherings and being indoors around others without a mask who are at an increased risk, or immuno-compromised.

“Pandemic fatigue— everybody is pretty done with this whole scenario, it’s really a bummer. But the things we have stressed all along the way here, the mask-wearing, the social distancing; I think those are still very important, unfortunately,” Kirkpatrick said. “Those are really some of the greatest protections in addition to the vaccination to quell this.” 

For more information about getting vaccinated, or to schedule a vaccination, visit the Passport to Campus page. Students and community members can also schedule their vaccination at these locations: Marquette County Health Center, Walgreens, Walmart, or visit VaccineFinder.org.

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