Miller Vaccine Clinic

ASUN President Roni Miller speaks to media during the vaccine clinic at the Coliseum on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department officials said they see light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel due to a vaccination clinic held at the Coliseum Tuesday.

The clinic, which made first dose COVID-19 vaccinations available to all UNL students, faculty and staff and individuals from institutions of higher education in Lancaster County, was the culmination of many months of work between LLCHD and the university, Chancellor Ronnie Green said.

UNL employees, including student workers, were previously given an opportunity to receive vaccinations.

Green, Association of Students of the University of Nebraska outgoing President Roni Miller and Lincoln-Lancaster County health director Pat Lopez spoke about the importance of the clinic to the university’s COVID-19 response going forward.   

Green said he was pleased to see students take the opportunity to get the vaccine, as a high vaccination rate will allow the university to return to a more regular schedule and method of course delivery next fall. 

UNL is encouraging all students to get vaccinated as soon as they can, but Green said  university officials do not intend to require students to be vaccinated to come back next fall. 

While the university requires students to receive non-emergency vaccinations before they attend UNL, Green said there would be legal hurdles to requiring a COVID-19 vaccination. Other universities across the country have already said they will require students to be vaccinated for the fall semester, including Rutgers University and Duke University. 

Green thanked LLCHD for its help throughout the pandemic, particularly Lopez, who he called a “fantastic colleague.” 

Citing low COVID-19 positive rates on campus this semester, Green said he would give UNL a “solid A” for its pandemic response grade.

“I think the mandatory testing was very critical for us in the winter particularly,” he said. 

Miller said she was happy to see so many students receive vaccinations this morning because she believes it is important for young people to do their part in combatting the pandemic. 

“This feels like such a joyous and hopeful moment after the struggle of this year,” she said. 

Though Miller said she’s empathetic to students who might be concerned about getting the vaccine, she encourages all students who are able to to get vaccinated for the good of the community. 

“I think this opportunity for students to get vaccinated gives the incoming freshmen and all returning students an opportunity to have a little bit more of a ‘normal’ college experience,” Miller said. 

Lopez said LLCHD has worked closely with UNL to provide contact tracing and testing throughout the pandemic, and this is another extension of those efforts. 

“We’re really excited,” she said. “It’s great to see all of these young people here today.” 

Once students were inside, they were asked to fill out paperwork and were screened by medical professionals. Students then received the vaccine and were asked to wait for at least 15 minutes in case of an allergic reaction. 

A booth was available for students to extend their housing contracts in order to stay in Lincoln if they would like to receive a second dose from an on-campus clinic the week of May 10. Runzas, slices of Valentino’s pizza, sodas and UNL merchandise were given away outside the clinic at the East Stadium plaza. 

Tyler Laudick, a sophomore from Nebraska Wesleyan University, said his wrestling coach at NWU encouraged the team to get vaccinated at this clinic. 

He said he would like a full wrestling season next year after this year’s season was abbreviated due to COVID-19, which is why it was important to him to get vaccinated.  

Laudick said he’s not concerned about side effects of the vaccine because he’s never experienced them from a vaccination before. 

Chace Franey, a senior mechanical engineering major at UNL, said he registered to get a vaccine because his mother had been telling him to. 

The process was very efficient, he said, and he was surprised at how quick it was. 

Franey said he doesn’t believe that UNL should mandate the vaccine, but he does think students should try to be vaccinated if they are able. 

“I think it’s just [kind of] stupid not to get one,” he said.