The vaccine clinics will help facilitate a safe fall 2021 return to campus
Jordan Clarida, a sophomore majoring in public health, traveled to Rutgers on Wednesday to become the first student vaccinated at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy because she wanted to be part of the movement that ends the pandemic and saves lives.
“Having the vaccine available here was the easiest way for me to receive it,” said the Bound Brook, NJ resident, a student in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. She registered along with her twin sister, Taylor, who is also a Rutgers student, to receive their COVID-19 vaccines on the first day the university opened clinics for students, faculty and staff at its New Brunswick, Newark and Camden campuses to aid in the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
“Many of my family members traveled far so I am glad to be close by. Getting the vaccine today puts Rutgers another step closer to being fully open again. I encourage everyone to get it in order to keep their family and friends healthy,” Clarida said.
President Jonathan Holloway announced March 25 that, with limited exceptions, all students planning to attend in the Fall 2021 semester must be fully vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19, and that all faculty and staff are strongly urged to get immunized at the earliest opportunity. Holloway said broad immunization is critical to help stop the current pandemic and protect the university community.
“The safety of our campus community remains our highest priority,” said Antonio Calcado, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Rutgers. “Vaccinating students on our campuses gets us another step closer to ending this public health crisis, providing a safe environment in the fall, and the opportunity for students to get the college experience again. We are proud to be able to increase vaccine access throughout our Rutgers community.”
Appointments are available at three campus clinics: Campus Center, Lower Level, South ABC, 326 Penn St., at Rutgers-Camden; Stonsby Commons, 91 Bleeker Street at Rutgers-Newark and the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, 160 Frelinghuysen Road, at Rutgers-New Brunswick’s Piscataway campus.
Each location has received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; all three have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Those interested have the opportunity to choose their preferred date and vaccine.
“We have been preparing for this momentous occasion for a while,” said Kyle Warren, site director of the Newark clinic and senior vice dean at the Rutgers School of Nursing. “I am thrilled to provide this opportunity to our students, faculty and staff. So many different parts of the Rutgers community came together to make this effort successful.”
The first person to receive a vaccination on campus at Rutgers University-Camden was Jennifer Calay, a theater arts major from Miami. “I’m doing this because I want to see my family again,” she explained. “Even if COVID doesn’t affect me, I can see how it would affect members of my family. My great-grandfather died of COVID. This is real.”
Luis Torres, a custodian at the pharmacy school, was the first member of the custodial staff vaccinated at the Piscataway clinic.
“I know getting the vaccine will keep me safe,” said Torres, of New Brunswick, a Puerto Rico native who started at Rutgers in 1988 and has been with the university for 33 years.
“I work in this building so it means something to me. It’s much easier for me here and making the appointment was simple,’’ he said. “I want everything to move towards the new normal and I am looking forward to having students back on campus safely in the fall.”
The clinics are assisted by the Rutgers VAX Corps. VAX Corps has played a key role in vaccination efforts at external clinical and community partner sites in New Jersey, and now at internal Rutgers sites, including administration of COVID-19 vaccines and other functions to support vaccine clinics.
“VAX Corps leverages the unique interprofessional environment of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences to respond to the most pressing public health emergency of the last century,” said Vicente Gracias, senior vice chancellor for clinical affairs at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “It provides an invaluable opportunity to participate in interprofessional health care teams and encourage partnerships across professions.”
Rutgers is prepared to vaccinate up to 1,350 people per day, based on demand and vaccine supply across all of its vaccination locations.
Appointments will be available to those who are registered on the Rutgers portal. Vaccinations are by appointment only; no walk-ins will be permitted. Appointments are available to students, faculty, staff, and others who are part of the university community and have a Rutgers NetID.
The university strongly urges all those eligible to get a vaccine as soon as possible at the first location available. Members of the university community are encouraged to sign up at the State of New Jersey’s vaccination website and make their first available appointment at any vaccination site.
For information on Rutgers University’s vaccination requirements and COVID-19 updates and guidance, visit: coronavirus.rutgers.edu.
See how we’ve united against COVID-19: rutgers.edu/united.