CINCINNATI — Xavier University junior Dylan Burke will be on his way home to Boston when the school year ends. His classmates will disperse all over the country. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the rhythms of college demand a certain amount of travel each year for many students — from school to home over the summer, from home to school in the fall.
Burke’s been getting tested every time he goes home for the last year, but he’ll fly with less worry over the summer. He got the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine on campus Wednesday afternoon.
"Once I know that I'm vaccinated and I'm all good, I won't have to stress as much about getting tested and worry about bringing the virus back to Boston,” he said.
Colleges and universities across Ohio have begun offering the shot to students, who are at elevated risk of spreading the novel coronavirus despite their low risk of becoming seriously ill. Xavier started Wednesday; the University of Cincinnati will begin Saturday.
It’s a good idea, said infectious disease expert Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum. Young adults have wide-ranging social lives and tend to interact with more people each day than other groups, and their low risk of COVID-19 complications means they are unlikely to know if they’re sick.
"Many times their infections may be asymptomatic or have fewer symptoms, which means they may spread it more easily,” he said.
Sarah Mun, a senior at Xavier, said she’s happy to have gotten the shot and provided an additional layer of protection to people in her life.
"I just think it's my public duty to keep others safe,” she said. “Wearing the mask, you can only prevent so much, so with the shot you're just keeping everybody and yourself safe."