Vaccine Winner Stock Photo

Magers Health and Wellness Center stands near the PSU on campus. Students can get vaccinated at the clinic as, well as log their vaccine records there.

A visit to the bookstore during what one student thought was going to be a relaxing Friday morning left him “speechless.” 

As one of the students who had his COVID-19 vaccination information on file with Magers Health and Wellness Center, freshman information technology and cybersecurity major Alex Raibley was automatically entered into the Student Vaccination Incentive Program, a campus-wide drawing for prizes distributed from early July to late September. 

On Sept. 24, Director of University Safety, David Hall presented Raibley with the program’s mega grand prize: a full year of tuition and fees, one year of university-owned housing, an unlimited meal plan, $1,200 for books and supplies, and a reserved parking spot.

“It’s the one prize you can’t get with money!” Raibley said regarding the latter item. “I forgot what it was for honestly. That’s how shocked I was. I’ve never won a grand prize. I must be the luckiest dude alive.” 

He even surprised his parents during Family Weekend, holding up the giant check in front of his residence hall and assuring them, “Yes, it’s real!”

Raibley’s newfound fortune wouldn’t have been possible without receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. 

“I really didn’t want to wear a mask,” he said. “I believe in vaccines, too. The flu vaccines and others help people and save lives. They’re really good for everyone.”

Even though all the prizes have been awarded, David Hall is optimistic about the program’s impact on Missouri State students, as student vaccination rates at Missouri State are higher than the average demographic. According to a report published by the FDA on September 14, 62% of individuals aged 18-24 have been vaccinated in the United States.

“Overall, we felt like it was certainly worthwhile for us,” he said. “Rather than mandating vaccinations, we were able to take the approach of saying we want to encourage people to get vaccinated and leave that to them.”

While first dose administrations have decreased, Hall said the university has considered providing education opportunities to help address students’ concerns. He hopes as other areas of daily life require vaccinations, students will choose to receive them and “be done with it.”

As of press time, 38% of all Missouri State students are fully vaccinated with 64% of on-campus students falling into this category. During the virtual town hall meeting on Oct. 4, President Clif Smart provided an update on the university’s campus-wide masking policy, which will go into effect on Monday, Oct. 11. 

Students who have questions or would like more information about vaccinations and the ongoing pandemic are encouraged to visit the Missouri State’s COVID-19 Information Center, which can be found here:

Subscribe to The Standard's free weekly newsletter here