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UB will open COVID-19 vaccine clinic for all students, as young adults search for local appointments

University at Buffalo

Vaccine eligibility opened up Tuesday to people ages 16 or older, which meant college students could sign up for appointments. However, as some students told WBFO, they feel their classmates might wait until there are closer and easier opportunities to get vaccinated. 

The good news is, it won't be long until that is the reality, at least for University at Buffalo students.

All University at Buffalo students will be eligible to get vaccinated at a new on-campus clinic open only to students, UB Vice President for University Communications John DellaContrada shared with WBFO on Wednesday. UB will be one of 34 state-run campuses receiving doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from SUNY.

The update came after the SUNY system first shared on Tuesday doses would be provided for resident students. UB’s previous goal was to vaccinate all resident students before summer break. DellaContrada says the goal now is to vaccinate as many students as possible. 

“Whether it's for holidays, or in-between semesters, we've been very diligent about providing testing before the return home. So I do think the timing of this is geared toward making sure as many students as possible are vaccinated before they return to their communities across the state and around the world," DellaContrada said Tuesday.

Under the original goal, DellaContrada estimated about 4,500 to 4,600 resident students would be eligible. According to UB’s website, the university has a total of over thirty-one thousand students.

Some students, like second-year University at Buffalo law student Rachael Sparacino, want to get vaccinated as soon as possible. She logged onto her computer at 8 a.m. sharp on Tuesday when the vaccine eligibility expanded to people ages 16 and up – the 24-year-old was excited to sign up for the vaccine. She says that like her, many of her friends were excited too. 

“I would say the majority of mine [my friends] that haven't gotten it already, they, they were up at 8 a.m. They were like ready to go. My one friend actually texted me about it too. And they're like, 'when do you get it? Like Where are you going?' To just kind of be like, to kind of compare, like how you would compare classes," said Sparacino.

However, Sparacino believes not everyone is willing to drive to another city to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and that some her age will wait until there are more appointments in Buffalo. 

"I mean, I know I was willing to drive out to Syracuse, but I don't think a lot of my friends are like, super amped about getting the vaccine enough to be like, 'Oh, I'll drive to Syracuse.' I feel like they'd rather just be, like they want it, but they're like, 'maybe I'll wait until something in Buffalo opens up.' So I think having another site here might help them become more willing," she added.

DellaContrada says the vaccine site will be located on UB's North Campus and he expects it to come online in the next two weeks. He added that about 2,300 students and about 1,000 staff members have disclosed to the university that they are fully vaccinated. 

UB students aren't the only ones looking to get vaccinated, and also worried about classmates who may not be as eager to get vaccinated.

Twenty-year-old Niagara University senior Noelle Incardona recently got her first dose of the vaccine after getting a note from her doctor. She also feels people her age are willing to get it, but they might not feel the urgency of the situation.

“[Young people] all think that we're invincible, and COVID is not going to affect us. Or they think that they already since they already had COVID. And they survived that they don't have to worry about getting the vaccine," Incardona said.


Emyle Watkins is an investigative journalist covering disability for WBFO.