GRAND FORKS — The University of North Dakota has instituted an incentive program for students to get the coronavirus vaccine.
Announced late last week, the program will pay students $100 for completing the vaccine series. To be eligible, students must have received their first shot on or after Sept. 15, and have completed the series by Nov. 10. UND is carrying out the program to increase the number of vaccinated students to protect the campus community and maintain a normal environment.
“I think it's really important that we find ways to encourage our campus community, if they're holding out for whatever reason, to find ways to maybe entice them to do this very important step, to help keep our campus community safe and healthy,” said UND spokesman David Dodds.
As of Sept. 20, 36 people, including one faculty member and four staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days, according to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard. Through September, 91 students and 10 UND employees have tested positive. At present, 42 people on campus are either quarantined or in isolation, 14 of which have been placed in hotels.
To be eligible for the incentive people must be enrolled in academic credit courses for the fall semester. The program is not available for benefitted UND employees who are taking classes, or collaborative students whose home campus is another North Dakota university. Students taking non-credit professional development courses and enroll anytime online courses are also not eligible to receive the vaccine.
Students who apply for the incentive can also pair it with Grand Forks’ incentive program, which gives out $50 gift cards to participating local stores, at a vaccine clinic on Wednesday, Sept. 22.
The incentive effort is being paid for by funds UND received through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which set aside nearly $40 billion for higher education institutions to “to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19, including reducing barriers to vaccination,” according to UND’s COVID-19 webpage.
To take advantage of the program students need to be aware of which vaccine they receive, as the timeframe for second doses differs between vaccine makers. For students getting the Moderna vaccine, that means getting the first shot by Oct. 13, as the second dose must be given four weeks later. For people getting the Pfizer vaccine, the first shot must be administered by Oct. 20, with the second shot coming three weeks later. Students need to get the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine by Nov. 10.
In addition to getting vaccinated, students must set on an online payment process by Nov. 10, and complete a vaccine incentive request form, also online at UND’s COVID-19 website, by Nov. 15.
Students who received one or both shots before Sept. 15 are not eligible to get the incentive, which is designed to “protect the flock” by getting students newly vaccinated.
“While paying those who have already been vaccinated may seem fair, the immense cost to do so is better spent on direct expenses to keep the campus and its members safe,” reads a portion of the incentive webpage.
Students who received the vaccines outside of North Dakota and Minnesota, and within the incentive timeframe, can still participate. Those students need to contact the state registry where they received the vaccines, to get the official record. UND is not accepting a photo of the vaccine card, due to the potential for fraudulent activity.
In addition to COVID vaccines, UND will offer flu shots at vaccine clinics for students, faculty and staff on Friday, Sept 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pollard Athletic Center.