Florida Southern falls short of vaccination goals

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Photo courtesy of FSCares

Harry Solomon

Florida Southern College’s administration implemented the “#MocsTakeAShot,” vaccination campaign over the summer. 

The program was started over the summer to encourage students, faculty and staff to get the vaccine. The school incentivized students and faculty to receive their vaccinations by offering four different awards for graduate and undergraduate students and on-campus organizations, as well as two different awards for faculty and staff. 

For undergraduate students the school offered a $300 award and t-shirts to seven different organizations, two $1,000 FSCares awards, as well as six $200 Mocbucks rewards during the ten week campaign. Graduate students competed for four $500 FSCares awards. Faculty and staff had the option of a $250 stipend, a vacation day or five meals from any of the venues on campus. 

“I think that the program was fairly successful, but it could’ve lacked the variety of outreach necessary to be entirely successful. I feel like even with its shortcomings,” John Pentek, a senior at Florida Southern said. “The program wasn’t successful in encouraging those people who weren’t already vaccinated to get vaccinated.”

The campaign concluded on Aug. 20, with the email stating that the school had reached 70 percent of its 80 percent vaccination goal. 

In an emailed statement to The Southern, Kelly Semrau, the VP of Marketing and Communications for the college said, “The Mocs Take A Shot program was started in early summer to encourage all staff, faculty and students who were attending FSC in the Fall to get a COVID-19 vaccine. At the time of that program’s introduction there were press reports about several variants such as Delta. However, Delta had not become a factor in Florida.” 

Florida Southern set a goal of hitting 80 percent of the campus population vaccinated by Aug. 31, the beginning of term. According to Semrau, FSC’s vaccination rate is at 66.79 percent as of Sept. 7.

On Sept. 1, the CDC updated its guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. The guidelines for vaccinated individuals state, “If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” For unvaccinated individuals the guidelines read: “If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.”

According to new CDC data published on Sept. 10, unvaccinated individuals are five times more likely to be infected, ten times more likely to be hospitalized by the virus, and more than 10 times more likely to die. 

On April 29, the American College Health Association said in an official statement on their website, “The ACHA recognizes that comprehensive COVID-19 vaccination is the most effective way for institutions of higher education (IHEs) to return to a safe, robust on-campus experience for students in fall semester 2021.”

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than one thousand schools across the nation are requiring vaccine mandates for certain faculty, students and staff. 

 

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