Many students reported positive experiences at Ohio University’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics despite the university’s ongoing struggle with filling vaccination appointments. 

Gov. Mike DeWine announced March 16 that Ohioans over the age of 16 who wish to be vaccinated would be eligible beginning March 29. On April 1, DeWine said Ohio colleges were to start working on vaccinating all college students who wanted to receive the vaccine.

OU vaccination clinics opened April 7, and vaccines are being administered at Heritage Hall, located at 191 W. Union St.

The Athens City-County Health Department is administering the vaccines at the clinics, with assistance from OhioHealth. Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and College of Health Sciences and Professions students and staff volunteers are also administering vaccines, Gillian Ice, special assistant to the president for public health operations, said.

Ice said the clinics are run professionally and take an average of 3.5 minutes for students to get through check in, receive their vaccine and continue to the waiting room. With the 15-minute reaction waiting period, students can receive their vaccine in under 20 minutes, she said.

Students are able to schedule an appointment online for the OU clinics, and many have reported positive experiences.

Yang Chen, a junior studying finance and graphic design who was vaccinated April 7, said his experience with the COVID-19 vaccine was similar to getting a flu shot. 

“The process was great,” Chen said in an email. “The nurses were chatting with you while taking the vaccines. After getting the vaccine, the nurses and students constantly asked you how you feel while people sat in the hallway for 15 minutes.” 

Similarly, Lucas Strunc, a freshman studying media arts who was vaccinated April 12, had a positive experience at the OU clinics. 

“They were very efficient with the way they carried out the entire operation,” Strunc said. “I never felt like I was in there for too long. Of course, I was just nervous. That's the way I am, but procedurally, they did everything right.” 

During the 15-minute waiting period after receiving his vaccine, Strunc became dizzy and felt those working the clinic were very considerate. 

“They really seemed to care about my well-being,” Strunc said. “They walked me out because they were really concerned that something might happen to me … they were very accommodating and very efficient.” 

However, student vaccination appointments are not being filled at the rate that OU anticipated.

Ice attributes that to a combination of factors including students finding other ways to get their vaccine prior to the clinics opening up to OU students or timing challenges with the semester coming to a close, she said. 

Due to the recall of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, students are now being administered the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. 

Currently, students who were scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have retained their appointments, but “it presents a challenge for many students who will not be in Athens for the second shot,” Ice said in an email. 

The last OU vaccination clinic is Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Heritage Hall.