Jocelyn Buggy ‘22
On April 27, President Rev. Philip Boroughs, S.J. sent an email to members of the Holy Cross community stating that all students, other than those who receive a medical or religious exemption, will be required to get a Covid-19 vaccine in order to return for the Fall 2021 semester. In his message, Fr. Boroughs indicated that the College would host a series of on-campus vaccine clinics. Director of Covid Operations David Shettler and Chief Risk and Compliance Officer Denielle Burl emailed students later that day with information about the first clinic.
The College partnered with the Waltham, Massachusetts based Pelmeds Pharmacy to host the first on-campus clinic, which occurred from Thursday, April 29 through Saturday, April 20. Approximately 375 students got vaccinated over the three day program. The clinic took place on the hockey ice rink in the Luth Athletic Complex from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. each of the three days. Students interested in receiving the vaccine were able to sign up for a specific time slot on a specific MyHC page, which Shettler and Burl linked in their April 27 email. Those who registered for appointments were instructed to bring their Holy Cross ID card, their health insurance information, and a completed vaccination registration sheet. Pelmeds Pharmacy provided the Pfizer vaccine exclusively, and students receiving their first vaccine were informed that they needed a second dose 21 days following their initial shot. Holy Cross students who are not currently in the College’s testing protocol were eligible to register for a vaccine appointment but were not allowed access to any location on campus besides the clinic.
Michaela Lake ‘22 received her first dose at the clinic on Thursday, April 29. “I was so excited to hear about the opportunity to get vaccinated on campus,” Lake said. “Scheduling an appointment on MyHC was very convenient. I’ve seen some of my friends go into Boston or to Worcester State University this semester to get their vaccines. So, I was happy to have an appointment that was only a five minute walk from my dorm.”
Members of the Covid Operations Team have repeatedly stated that the College intends to host additional clinics to help students receive vaccines. On May 5, Burl informed students that the Team is in the process of scheduling a second clinic with Pelmeds Pharmacy to occur on Tuesday, May 18 and Saturday, May 22. These dates would accommodate students who received their initial doses at the first on-campus clinic, given the CDC statement that second doses administered within a grace period of four days earlier than the recommended 21 days are considered valid. However, Burl and Shettler emphasized in their April 27 communication that students will not be granted an extension to remain on campus to receive the second vaccine. On campus housing closes on May 18, and students are required to move out of residence halls on either 4/18 or 24 hours after their last final, whichever date occurs first. The College’s policy presents potential challenges to students who live out of state or face other obstacles to accessing campus after move-out. The Spire asked Denielle Burl how Holy Cross plans to help students who are unable to return to campus for a second clinic locate and schedule their second Pfizer dose in the required time window. “While it can be harder to find a first vaccine, Burl responded, “It is easier to find second vaccines. [Certain] sites specifically inquire into whether you’re obtaining a second vaccine and will, when possible, prioritize those individuals given the time table. In addition, there are several resources available to locate a second vaccination appointment.” Burl mentioned vaccinefinder.org and CVS Pharmacy website as two resources that students can use to find vaccination providers near them.