SUNY officials want all students to get their COVID vaccine before leaving campus.

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On Tuesday, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced a program specifically designed to begin vaccinating SUNY residential students prior to the end of the spring semester.

SUNY has secured its first reserved shipment of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate SUNY residential students prior to their departure for summer break, officials say.

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With college students becoming eligible to receive the vaccine on Tuesday, SUNY officials strongly encouraged all students to schedule their vaccine appointments before the semester ends, and if possible, to choose points of distribution set aside specifically for college students. The availability of the one-shot J&J vaccine will be particularly helpful to residential students, who may be scheduled to leave campus for summer break before they can receive a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

"Giving residential students the one-shot option helps clear a crucial logistical hurdle in the race to get people fully vaccinated before they leave campus and return to their hometown communities. We strongly encourage all students to schedule their appointments and to help spread the word about the many benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines. Our students have been unsung heroes since the beginning of this health crisis, and with the pandemic's finish line firmly in sight, we expect them to play a pivotal role in finally putting COVID-19 behind us," Malatras said.

Because the J&J vaccine requires just one dose, tens of thousands of on-campus students scheduled to finish the semester in early May can get their one shot without having to wait weeks for a second dose before going home.

Nearly 20,000 doses of the vaccine are being distributed to 34 SUNY campuses this week.

"I got it because I think it's very important to be as active and proactive as possible with this—to be able to keep myself, my housemates, my family, and the New Paltz community as safe as possible," SUNY New Paltz Student Kristin Lasker said.

SUNY is currently working alongside New York State to secure additional doses to be reserved specifically for the SUNY residential student population. Those will be distributed to more campuses in weekly installments over the next several weeks.

More than 350,000 students received an email to remind them of their eligibility. The messages also connect students with reliable facts about available vaccines, provide directions for making an appointment, and review recommended health guidelines to follow once you're vaccinated, officials say.

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