University to hold PATH-eligible vaccine clinic, teach-in to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations

The teach-in will take place Wednesday, Sept. 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Lauren Durham | Print Editor-in-Chief

On Wednesday, Sept. 15, UD will host a series of teach-ins focused on addressing common myths and misconceptions related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Thirty-minute sessions conducted by university staff and faculty will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Kennedy Union Torch Lounge. A free, walk-in vaccination clinic will be located in room 211 of KU. 

“I’m very excited about the special opportunity that the vaccination teach-in offers for UD’s campus,” said Provost Paul Benson. “There will be richly informative sessions led by faculty and staff from a wide range of programs and offices, from Biology to Health and Sport Science, and from Communication to Campus Ministry.”

Benson believes that “anyone with questions, concerns or hesitations about COVID-19 of vaccinations will find teach-in to be very helpful.” 

Students are eligible to earn one PATH point for attending at least one session and completing a form that indicates 1) they received the vaccination that day and uploaded their vaccination card, 2) they have already been vaccinated and uploaded their vaccination card and 3) they choose not to receive the vaccine. 

This event was announced nearly two weeks after the University of Dayton announced that staff, faculty and students would not be required to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Instead, the UD community is strongly encouraged to be vaccinated.

“This [event] began as a conversation about mechanisms that could be used to encourage students to either get vaccinated or upload their cards,” said Dr. Joe Valenzano, chair of the department of communication and one of the leading sponsors of the event. 

A vaccine clinic was already scheduled for Sept. 15, so Valenzano, university administration and the Student Government Association (SGA) decided to couple the teach-in event in order to engage students in educational and beneficial ways.

Students will have the opportunity to hear from a variety of perspectives on Wednesday, which was possible thanks to the overwhelming support and engagement from faculty members, according to Valenzano. 

“There really is a very strong, very robust multidisciplinary educational component to this that’s very important. We want students to walk away having learned something in a 30-minute slot,” Valenzano said.

Dr. Tim Gabrielli, Gudorf chair in Catholic intellectual traditions, will be holding a session titled “Catholic Tradition and the COVID Vaccine.” He is looking forward to the opportunity that he and his colleagues have to combat misinformation regarding the vaccine. 

“I often stop and reflect upon how cool universities are. You have collected together—in one institution—all of these experts in various areas of inquiry who get to talk with students and with one another,” Gabrielli said. “On Wednesday, we have a full day’s teach-in with experts in a variety of disciplines bridging what they know well to help us all think well about the COVID vaccine. That’s the university in action.”

Dr. Anne Crecelius, associate professor of health and sports science, will be discussing the myths regarding vaccines and infertility. 

“My overall hope for the event is that attendees feel empowered to make rational and well-informed decisions regarding COVID vaccination,” Crecelius said. “The pandemic is unfortunate, but is also providing this opportunity for what should be a civil, participatory and diverse day of learning.”

The hope for the larger Dayton community, according to Valenzano, is that community members will recognize that UD is firm in their commitment to encourage students to get vaccinated. 

“I hope people from the outside see that students, faculty and the administration at UD see that we are serious when we say we are strongly going to encourage vaccination — that we will use every tool at our disposal to encourage people to do the right thing for the community,” Valenzano said.

For more details on sessions and to register, students are encouraged to visit 1850. 

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