By Madison Prim
Vaccines may not be required to attend UAB, but the university is still offering several incentives to encourage more students to get vaccinated.
“A lot of the way we came up with these incentives were through student feedback, focus groups and conversations with students,” said Dr. Michael Faircloth, director of Student Health Services.
On Aug. 18 new incentives were announced. UAB is offering ten $1,000 tuition/book scholarships, ten $1,000 on-campus housing scholarships, five parking passes and up to ten tickets for away football games to vaccinated students. The away game tickets will be for either Tulane or Georgia.
Winners will be determined by a drawing. It has not been announced when the drawings will occur.
All vaccinated students will be given some incentives being offered. This includes a “Vaxxed and Back” T-shirt or ball cap and $20 in BlazerBucks. Students can get the merch after receiving their final dose of the vaccine at one of the weekly COVID-19 vaccine pop-up clinics on campus. Students can also claim their shirt by showing their vaccine card at the UAB Bookstore if they were not vaccinated on campus.
In order to receive the $20 in BlazerBucks students must upload their vaccine card to the patient portal by Sept. 30. BlazerBucks can be spent anywhere on campus that the UAB ONE Card is accepted and select off campus locations.
UAB is also offering incentives exclusively for students who live on campus. Once students are vaccinated and have uploaded their vaccine card to the patient portal, they will receive a $30 textbook voucher to the UAB bookstore.
Additionally, residence hall floors with 80% of the students vaccinated will be eligible to win a floor pizza party. Proof of vaccination must be uploaded to the Patient Portal by Aug. 23 in order for their floor to qualify. If there is a tie between floors in the same building, they will all be entered into a drawing to determine the winner.
Another incentive available is for registered student organizations. Organizations with 70% of their student members vaccinated by Aug. 31 will receive $150-$500 to use toward catering, allowed purchases or student travel, based on the size of their organization. Eligibility will be determined based on vaccine card uploads to the Patient Portal.
Much like UAB, other schools are offering incentives to their students to encourage vaccinations. Auburn University is offering their students several incentives such as $1,000 in scholarships, upgraded parking and early class registration. Wallace State Community College in Hanceville is giving $150 to students who show proof of being vaccinated as well as offering five additional $1,000 awards. Birmingham Southern College is charging students $500 to cover the cost of weekly COVID testing but will immediately refund any students that are already vaccinated.
Although being vaccinated is not required for attendance, it is highly encouraged for the well-being and safety of everyone.
“It is important for students to get the vaccine because it positively impacts your health and safety. Being young and healthy does not mean that you can’t get the infection,” Faircloth said. “You could end up being one of the young people who has to be hospitalized, but that’s much less likely to happen if you’re vaccinated. Getting vaccinated also helps to protect the campus community.”