ANJ: COVID-19 Vaccine: College and university leaders encourage getting vaccinated before fall semester

By Alicia Tarancon, Action News Jax

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Many colleges and universities are preparing for the fall semester.

For some, that includes making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory.

Action News Jax’s Alicia Tarancon spoke with some universities and colleges in our area.

While a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t required at University of North Florida, Florida State College of Jacksonville or Jacksonville University, it is strongly recommended to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

>>More on the COVID-19 vaccine

JU is going back to a full-capacity campus, meaning that in-person classes, clubs and sports will all be in full swing come this fall.

Layla Thompson told me it’s one of the reasons she’s fully vaccinated.

“Since I am a nursing student, I go to clinicals and help out in the hospitals. So it’s definitely a great extra protection while being in the hospital. I think everybody should go and get it so we can try to get everything back to as normal as possible,” Thompson said.

But not every student says they feel at ease about getting a vaccine.

Recent polls show that about a quarter those between the ages of 18 to 24 years old said they would not get the vaccine.

“I’m just a little skeptical because I just don’t know much about it yet. I’m sure with more information coming out I’ll get a little more educated or enlightened, but for now I’m just holding off,” Katelyn Hearn said.

UNF and FSCJ have been holding vaccination clinics on campus.

FSCJ is partnering with the Florida Department of Health so that students and faculty can have easy access to the vaccine if they want to get it.

QUICK LINKS: How to make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in the Jacksonville area ]

“I think it’ll bring us back to campus faster, which will be good,” said FSCJ student Raymond Davis.

University leaders say their students are ready to return after missing out on the college experience.

“With the vaccine, with the positivity rate in the community and on our campus, that we’ll be able to return to a fully engaged campus,” said Kristie Gover, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Jacksonville University.