Health Center offers 300 Pfizer vaccines to students, boosters available in area


Ryley Wilcox/NW

VACCINED—The COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine are available for up to 300 NMU students to receive at the NMU Health Center.

Ryley Wilcox, Contributing Writer

The NMU Health Center is now offering 300 Pfizer vaccines to students at the NMU Pharmacy in Gries Hall in their second allocation of vaccines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

The first distribution, administered in January, included 300 doses received by students, said Dr. Christopher Kirkpatrick, NMU medical director.

New orders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued in a press release last month, shortened the time period for individuals to get a COVID-19 booster vaccine from six months to five months after their most recent dosage of an mRNA vaccine.

Kirkpatrick said students who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can get their booster shot two months after the initial vaccine.

“The studies showed that about five to six months after having that primary series, people were becoming susceptible to the virus again,” Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick said he has found that a majority of the COVID-19 cases he has seen from students living on campus are from individuals that have had their primary series of vaccinations but have not yet received their booster shot.

“The guidance changes so frequently, it’s hard to keep up with,” Kirkpatrick said. “If you’re in that timeframe where we call you vaccinated and booster eligible, I think that the booster is an important thing to get.”

To get the vaccine, students can email [email protected] or call the NMU Health Center at (906) 227-1605.

“People call and get in an hour later, so there’s not a huge wait list,” said Kirkpatrick. “Generally, people are coming in within a couple of days at most. Recently we’ve been doing some of them the same day, sometimes 10 minutes later.”

For students that have tested positive for COVID-19 recently and are waiting to get their booster, Kirkpatrick said he suggests waiting two weeks after the last day of isolation.

“I’d like your immune system a little bit of time to recover, so that it can really respond well to that vaccination,” said Kirkpatrick.

Students can also get their booster vaccine at local pharmacies and health centers in Marquette. Janessa Brown, NMU junior, got a booster vaccine at Walgreens in December, a week after making an appointment online, she said.

“I got my booster shot to be able to protect those around me like my grandfather, because he is unable to receive the vaccine due to other health issues,” Brown said.

Brown said she encourages other students to get their booster shots in order to protect themselves and other members of their community.

“The sooner we can all get vaccinated, the sooner we can try to get back to a more normal place than where we are now,” Brown said.

The NMU Safe on Campus dashboard currently lists COVID-19 vaccination rates only for the first two vaccines. Kirkpatrick said he has plans to modify the Bridge System so that the dashboard includes the booster vaccine in the percentage of vaccinated individuals on campus.