Full Court Press | Beaufort County Now | Minges opens for vaccination clinic

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services. The author of this post is Jules Norwood.

Brady Sullivan gets a COVID-19 vaccination from Lisa Brantley of Student Health Services during the vaccination clinic in Minges Coliseum. | Photo: Cliff Hollis

    As public health officials, medical professionals and university leaders work to provide widespread COVID-19 vaccinations for the campus community, East Carolina University's Minges Coliseum opened its doors this week for a three-day mass vaccination clinic.

    The clinic began Wednesday and will continue from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday. ECU will be distributing the one-shot vaccination option until supplies run out.

    ECU students, faculty and staff are encouraged to schedule an appointment and bring a friend or family member. Members of the public eligible for the vaccine can sign up at the same link, and walk-ins will be accepted. The goal is to distribute 3,000 doses of the vaccine over three days.

    "Student Health Services feels it is important to get the vaccine to protect ourselves and our fellow Pirates from COVID-19," said Dr. LaNika Wright, director of Student Health Services. "It's important so that we can get back to our Pirate traditions and begin to return to some sense of normalcy. It's also about protecting those we love."

    The vaccine decreases the number of people who contract the virus as well as the number of hospitalizations and deaths, she said.

    The clinic is the result of a partnership with Vidant Health and Pitt County to distribute a large number of COVID-19 vaccines to students during College Week, April 5-9. Vidant had a clinic at the Greenville Convention Center earlier in the week.

    "Having as many members of the campus community vaccinated as possible allows us to see the light at the end of the tunnel in regards to the pandemic," said Kathy Delk of ECU Environmental Health and Safety. "We will have prizes and giveaways from Starbucks, Dowdy Student Stores and other partners, and there will be a selfie station available as well."

Sydney Lewis gets a vaccination from Amy Welsh of Student Health Services. | Photo: Cliff Hollis
    ECU Transit is providing transportation to Minges, including direct shuttles for on- and off-campus students. The apartment complexes affiliated with ECU Transit are part of a 30-minute loop between the complexes and Minges. The routes will operate starting at 8:30 a.m. each day with the last route leaving Minges at 4:30 p.m.

    As sophomore Bailee Hall signed in at Minges, she said she was nervous. "Honestly I don't like shots," she said, "but my mom and I are traveling in the summer, and I want to be protected, so I wanted to come get the shot."

    She said college students like to hang out, "and if we want to be around as many people we definitely need to get the vaccine, in my opinion. I think it's great that ECU is giving it out to the students here because we all need it."

    Freshman Masen Tarte said his first year has not been what he would have expected prior to the pandemic because people have been turned away from being in groups and there are fewer in-person classes and events on campus.

    He said he came to get the vaccine because he expects to need it on his immunization record to be able to travel in the future.

    "Hopefully if enough people get vaccinated, we won't have to wear the masks anymore," Tarte said. "That is a big hope of mine because I can't stand the masks."

Samson Strickland, a junior forward on the ECU basketball team, got his vaccination and volunteered during the clinic. | Photo: Jules Norwood
    Samson Strickland, a junior forward on the ECU basketball team who got his vaccination and also volunteered during the clinic, said at least two of his teammates had been in already. He said he didn't mind shots too much but still would rather have one than two, and getting tested less often would be a plus as well.

    "It'll allow us to be able to go about our practice and our season ... a little bit easier," he said.

    In addition to the three-day clinic at Minges, Student Health Services is operating an ongoing vaccination clinic at the Croatan on campus, Wright said.

    Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor of student affairs, said she's encouraging all students and especially athletes to get vaccinated.

    "We are fighting for the fall semester," she said. "It is extremely important for the students of East Carolina University to take advantage of the vaccine clinics this week, but also next week and the week after. It is important to get it before they go home for the summer, so they can go home and enjoy family and friends, but also so that they'll have it before coming back in the fall. That's my charge to our ECU Pirates."

    Email ecucovidvaccine@ecu.edu or visit the ECU Vaccine website for more information.
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