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UW-La Crosse launches incentive program to boost student vaccination rates

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UWL vaccine drive

UWL vaccine drive 

UW-La Crosse on Monday launched an incentive program designed to boost student vaccination rates for the fall semester.

UW-L students who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15 can be entered into drawings for prizes and scholarships. To become eligible, students must complete a short survey and grant UW-L’s Student Health Center permission to confirm their vaccination status.

While UW-L is anticipating a much more normal 2021-22 school year, Chancellor Joe Gow said widespread vaccinations are crucial to staying on track and fully returning to normal.

“We are excited to be regaining a sense of normalcy, but we also know COVID-19 remains a serious threat to our campus and community,” Gow said. “High vaccination rates are the key to not only protecting health and safety, but returning to normal as quickly as possible. As they’ve done throughout the pandemic, I hope our students will lead by example and do their part.”

UW-L’s incentive program complements the “70 for 70” campaign announced Sunday by the UW System. The campaign challenges UW campuses to achieve a 70% vaccination rate among students by Oct. 15.

Universities that hit that mark will be awarded a proportionate number of 70 $7,000 scholarships, based upon enrollment. If some universities fail to reach 70%, the share of scholarships will increase at universities that have met the threshold.

By reaching 70%, UW-L would unlock at least seven $7,000 scholarships.

UW System Interim President Tommy Thompson stressed the importance of students getting vaccinated, especially with the Delta variant creating new challenges.

“As we welcome students back to campus this fall, we want their experience to be as normal and safe as we can make it,” Thompson said. “That means students should get vaccinated, and we will incentivize it knowing that high vaccination rates are critical to our success. The ‘70 for 70’ campaign is key to helping our universities achieve higher vaccination rates, especially in the face of the looming threat the Delta variant poses.”

As of Monday, more than 3,000 UW-L students have responded to the survey, with 85% indicating they are fully vaccinated. Another 6% say they are partially vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated.

UW-L and UW System are encouraging — but not requiring — student vaccinations.

The 70% threshold is based upon estimates for reaching herd immunity, which indicates a base level of community-wide protection.

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