As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, Montclair State University is requiring students to get their COVID-19 booster shot by March 1.
However, as an incentive for students to obtain the vaccine earlier, Montclair State is raffling up to $8,500 for students who upload proof of having received the booster shot by the “early bird deadline” of Monday, Jan. 31. Students who are exempt from getting the booster shot but continue their weekly COVID-19 testing, the university announced last Tuesday, will be placed in the running for a chance to win a $500 gift card.
Melissa Shafer, a sophomore nursing major, feels the booster requirement will be effective in keeping students safe but believes the early bird deadline isn’t going to urge students to act sooner.
“I’m excited to be moved in and I’m super excited to be back on campus,” Shafer said. “I think mandating the booster shot was smart to keep everyone safe, and as much as I love the idea of winning some money for getting the booster, I don’t think it will change anyone’s mind who wasn’t [already] vaccinated to now get the booster. But, I’m hoping for the best this semester. Hopefully, classes stay in person.”
Jason Sequera, a junior theatre studies major and a commuter at Montclair State, feels the raffling was more of a bribe than anything else to get students boosted.
“With the booster mandate, I feel there [are] good intentions,” Sequera said. “I can see why they want [students] to get the booster since obviously we live in a time where getting boosted does technically help you against [COVID-19], but the way they’re going at it — it seems like they’re trying to bribe students. This whole raffle of $8,500 [is] great and all but I don’t want a bribe. I got the booster already because I chose to do it.”
Taylor King, a senior exercise science major, believes Montclair State should’ve given students more time to get the booster shot due to their schedules.
“I don’t think the booster mandate should really be a thing,” King said. “It’s good if a student has it, [but] if a student doesn’t have it, I don’t think they should be reprimanded for it. [Due to] scheduling conflicts, a lot of people can’t get a booster shot when [Montclair State] is requiring it and such.”
King further emphasized that the raffle isn’t going to motivate students to get the booster shot any earlier.
“Personally, I don’t feel the raffle is going to do much either,” King said. “I’m getting the booster because I need it for other things, but I’m not getting it for the raffle.”
Andrew Mees, the university’s spokesperson, says the faster students get the booster, the safer the campus would be. He further stated that Dr. Dawn Soufleris, the vice president for student development and campus life, and several of the vice presidents came up with the idea of the raffle.
“We also want to acknowledge all of the efforts our students have undertaken to help keep our community as safe as possible and allow the campus to remain open,” Mees said. “The incentive was implemented to not only help students get boosted as soon as possible but also to show our appreciation for all they have done in helping to secure the public good that is our collective health.”
Montclair State will be giving out COVID-19 vaccines, including booster shots, on campus in the Student Center ballrooms on Thursday, Jan. 20.