While the majority of Bowdoin’s student body was fully vaccinated prior to arrival on campus, a few students—primarily international students unable to obtain one or both doses of the vaccine in their home countries—were vaccinated upon arrival through Bowdoin Health Services or at Mid Coast Hospital.
According to an August 24 report from the Portland Press Herald, the College currently boasts a 99 percent vaccination rate. This rate stands in contrast to Colby’s 98 percent, Bates’ 95 percent and University of Maine System’s 66 percent.
International students who had not received any vaccine doses were required to quarantine for seven days upon arrival to the United States. Many quarantined in the homes of family or friends, while six were able to quarantine on campus beginning August 16.
After completing their seven-day quarantine, completely unvaccinated students received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the health center. According to COVID-19 Resource Coordinator Mike Ranen, the decision to provide Johnson & Johnson vaccines—as opposed to Pfizer vaccines, which were provided for students through Mid Coast Hospital last spring— was a result of both storage capabilities and the shorter timeline for students to be fully vaccinated.
“For all of these students, we are tracking the day [when] they’ll become fully vaccinated,” Ranen said. “Until they are fully vaccinated, they have to wear masks at all times as well as test twice a week when our testing [program] starts up.”
As of September 2, one student was granted a full medical exemption, while a handful of other students were granted provisional exemptions while the health center continued to gather information.