Webster plans COVID-19 vaccination clinics

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Webster students, along with the Webster community, can sign up to be vaccinated at the Luhr Building on April 24 or April 29.

Webster is continuing its mission to vaccinate the community against COVID-19. Its most recent move opened up vaccinations for the entire Webster community. The vaccination clinics will be taking place at the Luhr Building on April 24 and April 29. 

This comes after Webster bussed students to receive the Pfizer vaccine at The Dome on April 15 and 16. Webster student GiGi Garner was one of the students who received the vaccine after Webster emailed residential students about the opportunity.

“It was honestly a lot easier than I thought it would be. I got an email about the shuttle and after I went to put in my appointment for that, they sent me an email to the site for the vaccine,” Garner wrote in an email to The Journal. “There were plenty of questions, but it wasn’t hard. You may have to know what type of insurance you have but other than that it was good.”

Residential students Zanab Arshad and Henry Cahoone talk with the director of student housing and residential life Anna Dickherber before getting on the bus to get vaccinated for COVID-19 at The Dome. Photo by Charlotte Renner.

Garner said the process went smoothly for her. Even the vaccine itself went smoothly, she says. The only symptoms she had were a sore arm and fatigue. Anna Dickherber, director of housing and residential life, says it’s important to be educated about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think that there is a lot of confusion or hesitancy about the vaccine. So, I would just encourage everyone [when signing up for the vaccination], there will be a link on there for information about the Moderna vaccine,” Dickherber said. “So I would just say, make sure you’re educated.”

Dickherber is one of the people behind planning these vaccination clinics and getting them to campus. The director of housing and residential life explained Webster is obviously not a school with a medical facility attached like Saint Louis University or Washington University. So, she and Affton Medicine Shoppe, a local pharmacy, worked together to bring the Moderna vaccine to the Luhr building. The pharmacy reached out to the university to start planning.

“As an institution, we said, ‘Absolutely, this is something we want to do,’” Dickherber said.

Not only as an institution but as a global university, this was important to Webster, Dickherber said. 

“We talk about global citizens and being a community and for us to really come back together as a community, we have to be able to be safe and people have to feel safe. And so even though it’s at the end of the year, I think it’s really important that we can give our students an opportunity to feel safer within their community,” Dickherber said. “And that’s really important to me. And it’s really important to Webster that our students can feel safe and comfortable, and we can try to get back to some degree of normalcy so we can move into next year and hopefully have some of those things that we know students have been missing this year.”

But it was not without its challenges. Originally, both The Dome and Affton Medicine Shoppe were offering Johnson and Johnson vaccinations. Dickherber said the “one and done” mentality helped because the university wouldn’t have to have students return for their second shot. Then, news broke about a possible side effect of the Johnson and Johnson shot: blood clots. 

Residential student Sarah Bruce poses for a photo before stepping onto the bus provided by FEMA to take Webster students to The Dome to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. Photo by Charlotte Renner.

Dickherber and the organizations had to switch gears after the Johnson and Johnson shot was put on pause by the Federal Drug Administration. But, another opportunity arose: the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reached out with the chance to take students down to The Dome to get the Pfizer vaccine. This round was dedicated to residential students.

“The reason for getting residential students vaccinated first is because those students are more likely than anyone else to live outside of a reasonable driving distance from St. Louis, so we want to make sure they have the opportunity to also get the second vaccine before the end of the school year,” Webster University spokesperson Patrick Giblin wrote in an email to The Journal on April 14.

The residential students vaccinated at The Dome will return for their second dose on May 7. On April 20, the school opened the April 24 and 29 vaccination clinics to the public. Students who are undocumented are also eligible to come to the clinic, Dickherber says. She also added that if the person getting vaccinated has eligible insurance, they should bring that, as well as a form of identification like a state ID. 

“Basically, where we came to in our conversation [is] the goal is to get vaccines in arms. So, we’re going to do what it takes to get that done,” Dickherber said.

As of the day this article is published, 84 of 480 spots have been filled for the April 24 clinic. The last day for the sign-up link is April 21. Only 55 of 480 spots have been filled for the April 29 clinic. 

Registering for these clinics automatically signs the patient up for a second dose which would be May 22 for the April 24 participants and May 27 for the April 29 participants. It is recommended that attendees bring not only their insurance information — or a form of identification if uninsured — but also a copy of the form they receive in their sign-up confirmation to help expedite the process. 

Attendees should also arrive at their appointment time for their vaccination and will wait for 15 minutes after for observation. Webster will have volunteers from its nursing department to assist in the effort.

The link for registration for the April 24 clinic can be found here. The link for registration for the April 29 clinic can be found here. The vaccine is free and available to everyone.

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I like to write, a lot. I mainly focus in the news and lifestyle sections. When I'm not writing, I'm hanging out with my nephews, reading or binging a Netflix show. I have a really cool dog named Harper, too. She's the cutest.