UNCC to provide incentives for students who get vaccinated

CHARLOTTE — Officials at UNC Charlotte will not require vaccination for enrollment next year, but they did say it is highly recommended.

The university will provide incentives for students who get vaccinated to include prizes, such as free parking permits or $500 on their 49er ID card.

Channel 9 was on campus a few weeks ago during the school’s first vaccine clinic, when students, faculty and staff were given the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

At that time, the CDC said college students were a priority for that dose because it’s just a single shot and could be administered to students without them having to come back for a second shot.

Last week, though, federal officials halted that product after at least six women across the country developed rare blood clots.

On Tuesday, students and staff on campus will be given the Pfizer vaccine. The second dose will be administered on May 11.

The clinic will be held at Halton Arena, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

What happens next with Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

The CDC’s Advisory Committee will meet on Friday and is expected to decide about whether to resume the J&J vaccinations.

“The events we’ve seen with clotting are less than one in a million,” said public health professor Michael Thompson. “You really won’t see those kinds of events until you got a population deployment of a vaccine.”

Thompson said the rare issues with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are the kind scientists usually don’t find during typical clinical trials of 40,000 people or less.

“That’s why they’ve done this pause to see if the risk is too great -- if it’s associated with the vaccine or something specific about it -- or if there’s something that should be done such as recommend something for a certain sub group,” he said.

Thompson said most people shouldn’t let the pause stop them from getting vaccinated and fighting back against COVID-19.

Some schools aiming to make vaccines mandatory

Some on campus are pushing to make vaccines mandatory.

The Appalachian State University faculty senate supports mandatory vaccines for students before the fall semester. The faculty senate passed a resolution on Monday that asks lawmakers, the governor, the state department of health and human services and the UNC system president to mandate shots for all students.

As part of the resolution, there would be an exception for religious or medical reasons.

“This is a way the university can take a stance and demonstrate to the community that the vaccine is safe and this is the right direction to move for public health,” the faculty senate said.

Appalachian State said that as a state government entity, it cannot require shots on its own.

“I don’t think it should be required,” said student Collin Holder. “I think the majority of students who go here are going to get it anyway so I think it should be up to the students to decide whether or not they’re going to get it.”

Faculty at UNC are waiting for more information from their legal team before deciding whether they want to pursue a similar resolution.

The UNC system is “strongly encouraging” getting vaccinated but not requiring the vaccines before the fall semester.

So far, Duke is the only university in North Carolina to require students to get the vaccinated before fall.

Medical and religious exemptions will be allowed.