LARAMIE — University of Wyoming students who report being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 have an opportunity to win a semester’s tuition and fees, along with other prizes, including cash, a campus parking pass, pregame football sideline passes and dinner with President Ed Seidel.
UW’s student vaccination incentive program kicked off July 12, with $300 in cash as well as other prizes going out weekly until the sixth week of the fall semester Sept. 27.
Two winners of the grand prize, covering up to $4,500 in tuition and fees, will be drawn for the fall semester — one, the week of Aug. 23, the other, the week of Sept. 27. Two more will be drawn before the end of the year for the spring semester.
“We hope these incentives will help motivate our students to receive the vaccines, which have been proven to be highly effective and safe, and are key to successfully managing the COVID-19 pandemic,” Seidel said in a press release. “Regardless of where they’re spending the summer, the vaccine is likely readily available to our students in their local communities. For those who aren’t yet vaccinated or who haven’t reported their vaccinations to the university, these prizes provide another reason to take action now.”
While vaccinations are not required for UW students and employees — instead, they are strongly encouraged — students should report their vaccinations once they have received them. This allows the university to track overall vaccination numbers. The information is not being used for any other purpose, except to enter those who have reported their vaccinations into the drawing for prizes. The university’s privacy protocols are being followed.
Students who receive their COVID-19 vaccinations should upload documentation to the Student Health Service patient portal. This is as simple as taking a photo of your vaccination document and uploading the picture here: http://patientportal.uwyo.edu, using your regular UW user ID and password. This is the same portal where students report their mandatory vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella.
Additionally, students can report their vaccinations by emailing photos of their vaccination documents to Student Health at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only those students who submit their COVID-19 vaccination information to Student Health are eligible for the prize drawings. Students who submit proof of their first shots will be eligible for the weekly drawings; to win the tuition and fee prizes, students must have submitted proof of complete vaccination (for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, two doses).
Names will be drawn weekly from the total pool of students who have reported at least one shot.
The UW Foundation, in partnership with Seidel, is providing the four prizes of a semester’s tuition and fees. The $4,500 award would be reduced by any scholarship amount a student is awarded and is meant to cover only costs the student or family is obligated to pay out of pocket.
In addition to the grand-prize drawings the week of Aug. 23 and Sept. 27 for the semester of tuition and fees, one winner will be selected each of those weeks for an “A” parking permit, which usually is only available to faculty and staff members — and is valued at $210 annually.
The weekly drawing will be for one winner who will receive $300 in cash, along with other prizes. Those include pregame field access passes for UW football games; Dining Dollar cards from UW Dining Services, each valued at $100; and Apple AirPods.
Additionally, five students will each win the prize of a dinner for six with Seidel and his partner, Gabrielle Allen, at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. Also included will be catered dinners with Provost and Executive Vice President Kevin Carman, along with Associated Students of UW President Hunter Swilling, from Cheyenne.
“Gabrielle and I strongly support these vaccinations, which truly are a triumph of science and are responsible for the declines in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths across the country,” Seidel said. “We are excited about returning to a traditional semester this fall and, as more students are vaccinated, our community will only feel more confident that it will be a safe and healthy semester as well.”
“With the recent surge of the highly contagious Delta variant, it’s more important than ever that we all get vaccinated. Summer is the perfect time to get your shot,” Swilling said. “When I got my second dose, I just had a sore arm and a fever for about a day, and that’s way better than getting COVID.”
Students in the United States can go to https://vaccinefinder.org/search/ and learn where COVID-19 vaccines are available. They can even narrow the search to look for a particular type (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson) in up to a 50-mile radius of the zip code they enter.
As of July 6, 1,665 individual students have reported receiving at least one dose of a COVID vaccine on the patient portal, with 2,975 total vaccine doses reported. Of the 1,379 students enrolled for the summer session, 337 — 24.4 percent — have reported receiving at least one dose on the portal.
“From a separate survey conducted recently, we know that only about half of our students who said they’d received the vaccines had actually reported being vaccinated to the university. That means our actual student vaccination rate is likely much higher,” Seidel said. “This incentive program not only aims to increase the vaccination rate, but the reporting rate as well, so that we have a better picture of where things stand in our community.”
As of July 6, 2,365 of UW’s 3,240 benefited employees — 72.9% — have reported receiving at least one dose of the vaccines. Adding in non-benefited employees, some of whom are students, 3,691 of UW’s 6,872 total employees — 53.7% — have reported receiving at least one dose.