UWL hosts a vaccination drive for students and community members


Photo taken by Maija Sikora.

Maija Sikora, Managing Editor

The week of May 10, the Student Health Center will be hosting a vaccination drive to provide students with pre-summer vaccination opportunities. The drive will be held on Tuesday May 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Thursday May 13, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Executive director of integrated marketing and communication Maren Walz says that every summer the La Crosse area sees thousands of students who remain in the county. For those students who engage in summer employment, internships, or any other recreational activities, Walz says that it is important to take the next step in protection against the virus. 

The idea of the walk-in vaccination clinic is to relieve pressure from students who may be avoiding getting vaccinated due to the stress of exams. Walz says that students may be trying to avoid a symptomatic exam week, or are avoiding scheduling time out of their busy schedules. She says the intent behind the week-long drive is to give students the opportunity to finish their academic responsibilities and then get vaccinated. 

“The purpose of this is hopefully to catch students right before they are ready to leave campus. After they finish their finals,” she said. “That said, if someone is moving out of residence life, and their dad is with them, and they both go up to the bluffs, no problem. You don’t need a student ID. We are not going to turn anyone away, we just want to use up the shots.”

UWL is working in collaboration with the La Crosse county health department, wherein they are supplying doses and the university is hosting the vaccination site; Viterbo University and Western Technical College are hosting similar events. But despite the collegiate setting, Walz says that anyone who would like to be vaccinated is welcome. 

The end-of-year drive will be held in the Bluffs of the Student Union and will be providing doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in an effort to provide students with a more expedient vaccination alternative. Walz says that UWL understands that there may be some hesitation in regards to the competence of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, but she encourages students to visit the informational resources provided by the university on the vaccination page, and then make their decision based on research and personal preference. 

“Scientifically, there shouldn’t be any greater concern about Johnson and Johnson than there should be about the others,” she says. “If people have concerns about Johnson and Johnson, they can walk right across the street to the Student Health Center and get Moderna or Pfizer.” 

The Student Health Center has also begun to offer the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines on a walk-in basis. 

“If you’re looking specifically at the Cleary Center, they do have a lot of availability, and walk-up appointments are available. You’re still welcome to register and schedule an appointment, that probably makes the process a little faster because then you are just in the system, and you kind of check-in. But there is no requirement to make an appointment ahead of time. So if that has been a challenge for you, you can now just show up,” said Walz.

Walz says that no specific version of the vaccine at the health center is guaranteed. “Sometimes they’ll get Moderna for the week, sometimes they’ll get Pfizer for the week. It just depends, because they get their supply from the state. And that changes periodically. Right now it’s Pfizer. 

According to Walz, the La Crosse area can expect to see an increase in the number of vaccination sites as the vaccine is becoming more readily available. She says that although there was a limited supply during the early stages of its release, this scarcity is no longer the case. 

Walz says that she understands that for a while people were feeling like they needed to be conscious of their community’s need for vaccination before their own, but due to the new abundance of the vaccine, students should take advantage of health opportunities for themselves. 

“There are a ton of shots out there available. We need to shelf that feeling of not wanting to get the shot because we are worried about other people. You get the shot because you’re worried about other people.”

To find a vaccination site that suits individual needs, students can visit the UWL COVID-19 vaccination page.