COLUMBUS, Ohio — Over 94,000 Ohio State students, faculty, and staff have received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to OSU.

What You Need To Know

  • Over the summer, Ohio State mandated all students, faculty, and staff get vaccinated

  • The deadline to be fully vaccinated is Nov. 15

  • The university has received over 6,000 medical, religious or personal belief exemption applications

  • Those given exemption will still be required to wear masks and submit to frequent COVID-19 testing

The university has set up vaccination centers around campus over the past few months to help increase the numbers. 

Betsy Shaffer was among the first to join the front lines in administering the vaccine at OSU. She is a nurse practitioner with the Ohio State Medical Center and began giving the vaccine when the university transformed the Schottenstein Center into a vaccination site in January. Moving around the campus throughout the year, she’s still distributing hundreds of vaccines a week.

“I think it's just been a really long time that we’ve been doing this, but it's kind of an exciting time,” said Shaffer. "I think people are really happy to come in and get their vaccines, they feel really relieved, they’re very appreciative, which is just really nice to have that appreciation.” 

In August, Ohio State announced all students, faculty, and staff must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15. The university has reported a 91 percent vaccination rate among both students and staff and it expects the number to continue to increase.

“I haven’t run into anyone that’s been upset with the mandate,” said Shaffer. “A lot of the questions just revolve around what kind of symptoms I am going to feel afterwards.” 

Although Shaffer reports an overwhelming amount of support and appreciation, some students felt the mandate was unnecessary. Kayla Tomas Lainez said she felt it should’ve been left to the individual.

“It did seem a bit unsafe to do it, '' said Tomas Lainez, a student at Ohio State. "Just like having the shot come out and having to like in a hurry, say that I wanted it.”

The university has received nearly 6,000 exemption applications. Exemptions could be given based on medical, religious or personal reasons. While the university has approved thousands of exemptions, those who receive them live a different life on campus.

“Students, faculty and staff with an exemption must test weekly, take an e-learning module to learn about the spread of the virus,” said Ben Johnson, a spokesperson for Ohio State. “They will have to continue wearing masks even if the university lifts the mask requirements.”

Tomas Lainez said she was on the fence but didn’t want to apply for an exemption because she realized the vaccine would be her way of getting back to normal.

“I definitely think it will help get things back to normal, back together,” said Tomas Lainez. “Students walking on campus, masks off in classes enjoying themselves instead of online and distancing.” 

After students and staff get the vaccine, they are encouraged to upload a picture of their vaccination card to their buckeye portal. Students who have not gotten the vaccine or an exemption by Nov. 15 will have to take an online course next semester. They will also be excluded from all campus activities. Faculty and staff who have not received the vaccine by the deadline could lose access to online resources. 

Students still looking to get vaccinated can visit the Wexner Medical Center or the Wilkes Student Wellness Center.