OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – Weber State University is now estimating that 80% of its students will be vaccinated before the fall semester starts. University leaders credit the students for their participation and hope to help the local community follow their example.
“If our data is correct, we should be doing very well,” WSU Director of Public Safety Dane LeBlanc tells ABC4. He says a recent student survey shows 80% of students are, or plan to be, vaccinated by the time the fall semester starts.
He states, “We’re just really, in a nutshell, enjoying a student population that is amenable to being safe and getting vaccinated.”
To put that 80% vaccination rate into perspective, the Weber-Morgan Health Department reports that in the two counties, 41% of the population is fully vaccinated. One program at WSU is working to help change that.
“The most important thing we do here is build bridges between our community and the university,” explains Community Education Center Director Luis Lopez.
The Community Education Center helps underserved populations in Ogden. Luis explains, “Anything that is related to helping the wellbeing of the community residents in this area, we’re involved in. We want to help and we want to be a part of.”
The center has many programs that help residents become WSU students. Whether it’s teaching English to a recent immigrant, or helping a first generation student apply for financial aid, the center aims to help increase the education of residents in the community.
The center’s newest outreach effort is a month-long community vaccine clinic. Every Monday and Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., residents who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may visit the center (at 2605 Monroe Blvd, Ogden, UT 84401) to get vaccinated. The clinic is in partnership with Weber-Morgan Health Department.
“We’d love to have it for the rest of the year if we could,” Lopez says.
LeBlanc credits the vaccination rate on campus to two things: the students’ willingness and the accessibility to the vaccine. During the last school year, the health department had a mass vaccine clinic at the Dee Events Center. While it was open to the public, it gave students and staff ample opportunity to get vaccinated while on campus.
During the upcoming school year, the university will continue to offer opportunities for students and staff to get vaccinated if they choose.
For LeBlanc, he hopes the vaccination success at the school will be mirrored across the community, “because if we can reach that herd immunity, it’s going to be better for all of us, and hopefully, we can put this virus to bed, so to speak.”