“The speed at which the vaccines currently available were developed is the product of global scientific collaboration and an impressive demonstration of just what the research sector is capable of in its quest to improve human wellbeing. Styria’s universities are urging all of their employees and students: trust the science. Get vaccinated if you are able to do so – for your own protection and to keep safe all those who cannot be vaccinated due to underlying health conditions. And to make it possible for us to return to in-person teaching at our universities from the winter semester,” announced Martin Polaschek, President of the Styrian University Conference and Rector of the University of Graz.
With the support of the Province of Styria, the nine universities have launched a vaccination drive aimed at reaching staff and students who have yet to get their Covid jabs. A fast lane will be set up in Hall A of the Messe Graz for all university members between 6 September and 11 October 2021 where the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine – which delivers protection from infection with just one dose – will be offered.
Registration is now open online in a special section of the steiermark-impft.at website for the Styrian Universities Vaccination Drive. Rector Polaschek noted: “Everyone who has the opportunity to take advantage of the vaccination options offered elsewhere should definitely do so. This drive is primarily geared towards Austrian and international freshers who have not been able to get their jabs yet and is designed as an additional incentive for people to come forward. Every single additional person that we reach is a bonus.”
As much in-person teaching as possible from the autumn
Besides helping to increase vaccination rates, it is hoped that this drive will also pave the way for a return to normal university life, with in-person teaching in lecture theatres offered again from the autumn. Participation in in-person teaching this winter semester will be predicated on faculty members and students providing proof of Austrian 3G status (tested, recovered, vaccinated) in accordance with the applicable legislation.
Responsibility for 70,000 members
The Styrian universities take their responsibilities towards their approximately 70,000 members very seriously and have been providing continuous updates on Covid-19-related measures and rules since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The concerted vaccination drive is part of a raft of services on offer: from updates to the info website and online consultations with vaccination experts to dedicated email addresses to provide rapid responses to topics related to the coronavirus and its impact on university life.
Evidence-based information about the Corona vaccination as well as video statements from TU Graz rector Harald Kainz can be found on TU Graz campaign website "TU Graz - pro impfen" ("pro vaccination").
Reactions to the Styrian universities’ vaccination drive:
Juliane Bogner-Strauß, Styrian State Councillor for Education, Society, Health and Care: “The vaccination drive for universities in Styria and, as a result, close to 70,000 people, is an important step in the fight against the pandemic. It will help to significantly raise the vaccination rate in the population once again.”
Doris Kampus, Styrian State Councillor for Social Affairs, Employment and Integration: “In the education sector, students and pupils, are also among those particularly affected by the Corona pandemic. The vast majority of their courses were held online, student life fell completely flat. Therefore, there is great hope that the situation will return to some degree of normality at the universities in Styria this autumn thanks to the Corona vaccines. With the special vaccination campaign for students from 6 September to 11 October at the Messe Graz, there is a simple opportunity to protect yourself and thus others with a Corona vaccination. My appeal to all students is: Get vaccinated!”
Martin Polaschek, President of the Styrian University Conference and Rector of the University of Graz: “Making vaccinations available to all employees and students will enable us to offer as much in-person teaching as possible at Styrian universities from this autumn. We would like to express our gratitude to the Province of Styria for the straightforward implementation.”
Harald Kainz, Rector of TU Graz: “Although we have recently been taking steps towards normality again, we need to be wary of developing a false sense of security – the pandemic is not over yet. The benefits of a Covid-19 vaccination outweigh any possible downsides by a considerable distance. We want to use this joint drive to send a clear message to our staff and in particular our students: get vaccinated. There are enough doses available. You can also come to get vaccinated with your colleagues during working hours. The main thing is that you come.”
Michael Koren, Vaccine Coordinator, Province of Styria: “Our City of Graz vaccination lane at Messe Graz provides the ideal infrastructure for the Province of Styria’s largest concerted vaccination drive.
We would like to thank the Styrian universities for their outstanding cooperation.”