Sign up now: Help needed for mass push to vaccinate students, faculty and staff

Nurse Kori Grooms administers a COVID-19 vaccine

Kori Grooms, senior nurse at the Ames Laboratory, administers a COVID-19 vaccine to ISU Dining cook Patrick Lanning April 2 at the State Gym vaccination clinic. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Vaccinating thousands of members of the campus community for COVID-19 in the final weeks of the spring semester -- including employees -- will depend on hundreds of faculty and staff pitching in to help.

Nearly 750 full-day, nonclinical shifts need to be filled to operate the large-scale vaccination clinic that will begin operating out of State Gym next week, President Wendy Wintersteen and senior vice presidents Jonathan Wickert, Toyia Younger and Pam Cain announced in an April 8 memo. The clinic is scheduled to run 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on 17 days over the next four weeks: April 15-16, April 20-23, April 26-May 1 and May 3-7. Clinic dates may change based on vaccine supply.

With all Iowans age 16 and older eligible to receive the vaccine as of April 5 and Gov. Kim Reynolds prioritizing the vaccination of college students before spring classes are finished, Iowa State on April 6 announced plans to vaccinate as many undergraduate, graduate and professional students as possible before spring classes were finished, preferably with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot. 

The April 8 announcement expanded eligibility for the mass vaccination effort, allowing ISU faculty, staff and post-docs to sign up to receive the vaccine. All students and employees will receive information in the coming days about how to sign up to be vaccinated. Though the university will provide vaccines to employees, those who have an opportunity to receive a vaccine from another authorized provider should still do so.

While vaccines at the State Gym clinic will be administered by health professionals, faculty, staff, post-docs and graduate assistants are needed in four different roles to make the clinic a success:

  • Wayfinding: Manage waiting lines and direct patients to open registration and vaccination stations. Work is done on-site while standing. Training is provided before each shift. 
  • Registration: Check in patients. Work is done on-site while sitting behind a clear barrier. Requires advance training, including a two-hour, in-person session.
  • Observation: Assist health staff with visually monitoring patients for rare adverse reactions. Work is done on-site while standing. Training is provided before each shift. 
  • Data entry: Transcribe data from paper forms into an online vaccination database. Work is done off-site by employees who have an ISU-issued computer and reliable internet. Requires advance training, including a two-hour online session.

For more information and to sign up for shifts, go to the COVID-19 vaccination clinic support webpage. To reduce training needs, employees should sign up for at least two shifts and limit their work to one type of role. Employees should check with their supervisor immediately if they are interested in helping and sign up as quickly as possible.

"We know this past year has been incredibly challenging, and the challenges are not over yet. This vaccination effort is critically important to our plans to return to a vibrant campus experience. With your commitment, resilient spirit, and can-do attitude, we will continue to overcome any obstacle," senior leaders said in the April 8 memo.

Shifts taken at the clinic are considered working hours for ISU employees and are only available in full-day increments (7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.). Snacks and a lunch break will be provided, along with a gift card to cover the cost of lunch at an ISU Dining location in the Union Drive Community Center. For more detailed information, see a university human resources FAQ.

Students workers can sign up for clinic shifts, if they are available for the whole day and their supervisor approves. Emeritus professors and partners of employees interested in volunteering without compensation may send a request to

Cyclones Care mitigation measures such as wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distance will be strictly enforced at the vaccination clinic, as they have been at the university's COVID-19 testing clinic. There was been no evidence of COVID-19 being transmitted at the ISU testing site.

For the university's most updated information about vaccines, see its vaccination webpage.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated to reflect the release of the April 8 memo.