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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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Through a partnership with the county, SDSU has been hosting one of the largest county-led vaccine sites at Viejas Arena since March. Through a partnership with the county, SDSU has been hosting one of the largest county-led vaccine sites at Viejas Arena since March.

SDSU Joins White House COVID-19 College Challenge

As part of its pledge, and as an early adopter, SDSU will continue providing COVID-19 vaccine awareness and details about how students, faculty and staff can get vaccinated.
By SDSU News Team

San Diego State University has joined about 580 colleges and universities across the United States that have pledged participation in the White House COVID-19 College Challenge, one aimed at helping to end the pandemic. 

The challenge, announced by the White House and U.S. Department of Education this month, is part of President Joe Biden’s aim at getting 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated with at least a first dose by July 4. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, to date, more than 172 million people have received at least one vaccine dose and more than 140 million are fully vaccinated nationwide, with about 64 percent of eligible adults having at least a first dose. 

“Universities such as ours, given the large and diverse communities we serve, have an important role in helping to put an end to this pandemic,” SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “We are at work every single day with that future in view.” 

Participating colleges commit to three actions: engaging every student, faculty and staff member; organize campus communities around vaccine efforts; and deliver vaccine access for all.

Since the first vaccine became available, public health and epidemiology teams at SDSU have been leading the effort to make sure every member of our university community is aware of vaccine availability and efficiency. 

“A primary reason why we are enjoying activities previously inaccessible or deemed too risky — social events, indoor activities and a fall semester with the vast majority of people back on campus  — is because the vaccine program is working,” de la Torre said.  

Months ago, SDSU launched campaign efforts and ongoing communications to broadly share information about COVID-19 vaccines with students, faculty and staff. 

Through a partnership with the county, SDSU has been hosting one of the largest county-led vaccine sites at Viejas Arena since March. The site remains open and, with the California State University system-wide COVID-19 vaccine requirement in place for fall 2021, SDSU continues to encourage that students, faculty and staff get vaccinated as soon as possible. Student Health Services also continues to offer vaccines to students and is also inquiring with every physician visit whether students are vaccinated to help connect them to vaccines. 

Those leading the vaccination effort are scheduled to participate in the White House’s first webinar, to be held June 11 with Dr. Anthony Fauci, during which approaches colleges and universities are using to engage students, faculty and staff will be discussed. 

SDSU has introduced a number of other efforts to increase vaccine awareness and to encourage that students, faculty and staff get vaccinated, including the following: 
  • Maintains its partnership with the County of San Diego in hosting the Viejas Arena vaccine site. The site remains open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Launched the Doing Our Part awareness campaign and sustaining ongoing efforts to share information through meetings, training sessions, email communications, video content and SDSU social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In addition to providing direction about ways to get vaccinated, the university has shared information about vaccine efficacy and addressed misinformation.  
  • Incentivized students with $5 gift cards during a week-long campaign during the first week in June when they showed proof of getting vaccinated. 
  • Running monthly drawings to provide students with $50 gifts when they upload their vaccine records to HealtheConnect
  • Targeted emails to students, faculty and staff about getting vaccinated and sharing their various options, both on and off campus. 
  • Maintained regular updates about the nation-wide, state or county vaccine plans and rollout in the COVID-19 Weekly Digest, which is on summer hiatus.
  • Continues to maintain a public-facing COVID-19 website with information and resources, which is updated regularly.  
“Getting vaccinated remains safe and free, and is increasingly accessible,” said Libby Skiles, Student Health Services director, and one of those managing the vaccine effort at SDSU in partnership with the county. 

“We also are seeing greater access to provide vaccines through general care, allowing people to more readily access the vaccine through their primary care physicians,” Skiles said. “These are among the many signals that pandemic conditions are not only changing, but that the pandemic is becoming far more controlled.”