FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Indiana University Fort Wayne nursing student Kaitlyn Horne got the COVID-19 vaccine to protect herself and her patients.
But she knows not all of her classmates feel the same. She’s hoping IU’s vaccine lottery system can help.
"Not a lot of us are at risk. So we are like, ‘Ehh, do we have to get vaccinated?’ Horne said. "So I think that might filter people more into the ‘Ok, I’ll get vaccinated if I can be in the lottery for something. Why not?’"
IU started the lottery after it was criticized for requiring students to show proof of vaccination. Now those who do will be eligible for a series of prizes, ranging from a parking pass to tuition credit.
Indiana University spokesman Chuck Carney says he hopes most students and faculty will understand the greater good.
"Most of our folks are going to want to get the vaccine and be fully protected, so I think that they know that the biggest benefit is of winning the lottery of being immunized," Carney said.
Whether on an IU campus, or a community college like Ivy Tech, the goal is the same: to ensure a safe and normal atmosphere in the fall.
"As a staff member, I really miss walking around the halls and having that student interaction and getting to know the students," Nicholas Spangle with Ivy Tech said. "Every Ivy Tech student and employee that gets vaccinated, they are helping to turn that dial towards opening our campuses even more so."
Ivy Tech isn’t requiring COVID-19 shots or organizing lotteries, though Vice Chancellor Spangle says every campus is hosting a June 10th clinic to encourage vaccinations.
Horne says it will be up to her peers to be truthful about being vaccinated, but knows some may lie and risk the health of others.
"I definitely think that we will see that," Horne said. "I’m just going to hope that enough people will be vaccinated that we can keep our population here on campus safe and then those we interact with as well."
Carney says IU students found lying about being vaccinated could face consequences, including suspension.
Purdue University and its satellite campuses will not require COVID-19 vaccines.
Purdue Fort Wayne said in a statement that they currently don’t have any incentive plans, but “will continue to work to promote the importance of getting fully vaccinated.”
A more detailed statement reads:
"Purdue Fort Wayne believes getting a COVID-19 vaccination is one of the most important steps we can all take to help bring an end to the pandemic.
"Every expansion of the state’s vaccination program was quickly communicated to our campus community this spring – information that was frequently revisited in newsletter articles, via social media and on our website.
"To make receiving a COVID-19 vaccination more convenient for students, faculty and staff, the university also worked with Walmart Pharmacy to offer vaccination clinics over the course of four total days in April and May.
At this point, vaccination is strongly encouraged but not required for our students, faculty, or staff as a condition for enrolling for in-person classes starting in August and/or on-campus employment."