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Students have received more than 9,000 vaccine doses, most respondents to DSG survey have been vaccinated

Students had received more than 9,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses by April 12, with Duke alone administering the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to more than 1,800 students, according to Vice President of Administration Kyle Cavanaugh.

Cavanaugh wrote in an April 12 message that the total number of vaccine doses is not equal to the number of students who have been vaccinated because some students were vaccinated outside of Duke. Those students may have received the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

Duke opened vaccinations to all students April 1, and paused use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13 following federal agencies’ warning about a potential rare risk of blood clots linked to that vaccine, offering students with appointments the Moderna vaccine instead.

Of the students who responded to an anonymous survey sent out by the Duke Student Government March 18, 98% indicated they were living in Durham and around 70% that they had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to DSG President Tommy Hessel.

“The results were encouraging,” wrote Hessel, a senior, in a message to The Chronicle. 

Hessel wrote that DSG sent out the survey during the stay-in-place order to “get a better understanding of just how many students had received vaccinations.

“It was unofficial, anonymous, and voluntary, and just gave DSG a better understanding of if we could advocate for eased COVID-19 restrictions down the line,” Hessel wrote. He also wrote that survey results helped to give an idea of how many students remained unvaccinated and thus eligible for a later Duke-sponsored vaccine.

“Within a period of 24 hours from its send time, we had 1,073 responses across ’21, ’22, ’23, ’24 (25%, 22%, 22%, 31% respectively),” Hessel wrote.

Of respondents who had intended to relieve the vaccine but had not, barriers cited in the survey included lack of knowledge on eligibility and trepidation about receiving the vaccine.

The numbers helped provide insight into the scale of student vaccination and “helped influence/reinforce future campus decisions like ending the stay-in-place order after a week,” he wrote.

The survey also displayed the need for tracking of vaccine doses received off-campus by students, which will take time to be reflected in Duke myChart.

“We communicated the results out to key administrators in Student Affairs and the Provost’s office, among others,” Hessel wrote. “Special shoutout to Thuan Tran ’23 who brought forth the idea and aided in this effort too (along with DSG).”

In addition to undergraduates and graduates who were vaccinated elsewhere prior to April 1, some students were able to obtain their Pfizer or Moderna shots even earlier.

“A number of graduate students who hold teaching assistant and research positions were provided access to vaccinations earlier than April in alignment with State of North Carolina eligibility,” Cavanaugh wrote. 

He noted that Duke encourages students to report their vaccinations to Student Health. He also acknowledged that more students are doing their part each day by receiving their shot, and that this provides some encouragement for the Duke community. 

Parker Harris

Parker Harris is a Trinity junior and the local & national news editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.


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