Coronavirus cells in microscopic view. Virus from Wuhan

Coronavirus cells in microscopic view.

Last week, a link to register for the COVID-19 vaccine through WVU Medicine was leaked to individuals not yet eligible, flooding the registration system.

In an effort to make sure all appointments made are valid, an email was sent to students encouraging them to use the correct link and follow the instructions provided by the University.

“To schedule an appointment at our vaccine clinic, individuals must answer a series of questions online to determine if they meet the State’s current eligibility requirements," a WVU Medicine spokesperson said.

WVU has started to gauge interest among students getting the COVID-19 vaccine. An email was sent out last week encouraging students to fill out a questionnaire on getting the vaccine.

The deadline to complete the questionnaire was March 14. Students don’t need to be a resident of West Virginia to get the vaccine, but they must be enrolled in classes on any WVU campus and have a valid student ID.

“We want our students to have confidence in the science and take the first opportunity available to be vaccinated, wherever that may be,” Dr. Carmen Burrell, medical director of Urgent Care and Student Health Services, said in the recent email. “These vaccines are safe, effective and an important component, when combined with our other health and safety measures, to containing the spread of this virus.”

According to WVU Medicine, several people were able to schedule their appointments without answering these required questions by using the leaked link that circulated widely on several social media sites.

Many of those people did not meet the current eligibility requirements, and WVU Medicine was required to cancel their appointments for now.

“However, we expect everyone to have access to the vaccine relatively soon as the vaccines become more widely available,” the spokesperson said.

Tess Tronco, a sophomore general business student, tried scheduling an appointment that was later canceled. Because of COVID-19, she has taken her classes online and has followed the safety guidelines.

“I’ve basically lost a year of my life to the pandemic, so I was extremely excited to have a vaccines appointment, since that’s my ticket back to a real life,” Tronco said. “When they canceled it, it hurt so much. It felt like they took away all the hope I had that I could get back to normal any time soon.”

The spokesperson asks for people to remain patient and let those who need the vaccine first to get it at this time.

“In the meantime, the State has understandably established priorities based on a variety of risk factors and first wants to vaccinate those people who are most at-risk,” the spokesperson said. “We are simply asking people to follow the State’s priorities and let those who are most at-risk get their vaccines first.”

The email sent out to all students said, “If you completed an appointment schedule through a WVU Medicine link on social media and you do not meet the eligibility requirements, it is not a valid appointment. Please be sure to complete the questionnaire to ensure a future appointment through WVU.”

Additional information is available at vaccinate.wv.gov, or you may call (833) 734-0965 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.