ORONO — The University of Maine System has worked with health care providers and pharmacies to help residential students get vaccinated against COVID-19 before commencement on May 8.
“We want to play a role to be helpful to the people of the state of Maine and protect them and quite frankly protect our own faculty, staff and students,” said Dannel Malloy, chancellor of the University of Maine System. “So, this is an exciting opportunity for us to demonstrate leadership.”
Malloy said there have already been vaccination clinics on the Orono, Presque Isle, Fort Kent and Machias campuses, and some of the other schools were given access to nearby clinics.
“It was very quick. Everybody reported painless, so this is a win,” said Marnie Kaler, dean of students and admissions for UMaine at Machias. “There’s just huge advantages for us to have more vaccinated people and especially those who work on our campuses, who are learning on our campuses and have connections with our campuses, so I’m just thrilled that we were able to have a part of it.”
Malloy said UMaine nursing students have also assisted with the state’s vaccination efforts.
“It’s an exciting time for those students to understand the job of protecting others and executing on the job that they’ve been trained for,” Malloy said.
As of now, vaccinations will not be required for students to return in the fall because they are only authorized for emergency use, according to Malloy.
“It’s entirely possible that we will end up requiring vaccine but unlikely that we will do that until such time as regular approval for at least one of those vaccines is received,” Malloy said.
The University of Maine System will offer its final vaccination clinic this Saturday on the Farmington campus.