COVID on Campus

University nearly meets vaccination goal in first few weeks of semester

Avery Shanahan

More stories from Avery Shanahan

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October 13, 2021
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The news column “COVID on campus” posts relevant COVID-19 news every week for UWEC students.

As UW-Eau Claire enters the fourth semester in the COVID-19 pandemic, the university has pushed protection and prevention against the virus. This includes mask mandates in all university buildings, and incentives to get vaccinated. 

This semester, the university administration has created a prize giveaway program called Vax Game. According to the university’s website, the initiative was created to achieve the goal of having 70% of all blugolds vaccinated on record. These prizes include iPads, Apple Watches and gift cards with a value totaling $400,000.

“Once 70% of all students have uploaded their vaccination eForm,” according to the university website, “vaccinated students will also be eligible to win one of the 50 grand prizes, a $1,000 scholarship for the spring 2022 semester.”

As of Monday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m. 68.2% of UW-Eau Claire students have uploaded their vaccination record according to the COVID-19 dashboard

The push for vaccination also comes from the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine was approved on Aug. 23 and will be marketed to the public as Comirnaty, according to the Federal Drug Administration.

“The safety of the community was evaluated in approximately 22,000 people who received the vaccine and 22,000 people who received a placebo 16 years of age and older,” states the FDA website, “based on results from the clinical trial, the vaccine was 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 disease.”

With in-person classes back in full swing, the university has seen an increase in testing and positive results for COVID-19. 

According to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, data updated at 9 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 13, stated that 443 students have been tested. This includes 205 on-campus students, 210 off-campus students and 28 faculty and staff members. 

Students that have not been vaccinated or have not uploaded their vaccination record, are required to get an antigen test every week. Nearly 6,500 students have uploaded their record.

Data from the dashboard states that 10 new cases were reported in the week of Sept. 10. Two on-campus students, seven off-campus students and one faculty member have tested positive.

Although the number of positive cases are on the rise on campus, the cases in Eau Claire county are remaining the same according to state and local data. 

The Eau Claire County Response page stated that as of Friday, Sept. 10, there were 78 new positive cases in Eau Claire Country. This brings the total to 13,163 positive cases in the county. The website also states that 12,501, or 95% of those cases have recovered. 

At a UW-Eau Claire Student Senate meeting Grace Crickett — the vice chancellor of Finance and Administration — and Lieske Giese — Eau Claire Country Health Department Director — presented in open forum.

 They spoke to the senate, on Monday Sept. 14th, about COVID-19 updates on campus and to answer any questions the Student Senate had. 

A member of the Student Senate asked the Crickette about updates to the mask mandate, and if there was a possibility the mandate would be revoked.

Crickette stated that the administration would be assessing COVID-19 policies and statistics but she had not heard of the revoking of the mandate.  

In the open forum presentation, Giese said although the university has a majority of the student body vaccinated, that percentage does not reflect Eau Claire County as a whole. Giese said that adults aged 18-24 have the lowest vaccination rate of all age groups in Eau Claire County.

If you have had contact with someone who has tested positive or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, testing is available at Student Health Services in Crest Wellness Center. Appointments can be made on the Student Health Services page.

Shanahan can be reached at [email protected]