University officials in Mississippi are urging college students to get the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus in the Fall.
Fewer college aged Mississippians are getting the COVID-19 vaccine. While campuses statewide have been central sites for testing and vaccinations, getting the shot is not mandatory.
Regina Hyatt is Vice President of Student Affairs at Mississippi State University. During a virtual forum yesterday about vaccination efforts, she says students aren’t necessarily expressing vaccine hesitancy. Instead, what she’s calling vaccine indifference.
“Students are expressing to us that they are not necessarily opposed to getting vaccinated but are in fact just not certain or are not necessarily in a hurry to get vaccinated,” said Hyatt.
Hyatt says they’re urging students to get the vaccine in enough time to be fully vaccinated before the Fall semester. Incentives university officials are discussing for those who get the shot range from t-shirts to free tuition.
While some private colleges and universities across the nation are requiring students to get the COVID-19 vaccine upon entry, State Health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs warns that sort of mandate could cause some issues.
“But in college, where you do have an opportunity to get vaccinated and the outcomes are relatively mild for the majority of college folks, it’s hard to really raise the level of necessity to that level,” said Dobbs. “Right now it doesn’t seem to be justified.”
According to the state health department, just over 57,000 college aged residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.