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SIU-Carbondale Launches "Protect the Pack" Vaccine Incentive Program

SIU Carbondale

SIU's Carbondale campus is launching a new incentive program to try to encourage students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before they return to campus next month.

Despite the Illinois Board of Higher Education recommending vaccine mandates, SIU leaders across the system chose to make the shots voluntary.

President Dan Mahony says it came down to quickly changing situations, exemptions, and other issues.

"Rather than saying we're requiring it and allowing a large number of exemptions, it was better to simply say we're strongly encouraging and ushing people to get vaccinated, providing incentive programs that we'll be rolling out in the next few days - different incentive programs that we'll have, and taking that approach, rather than us determining which of those exemptions we'll accept and not accept - which really gets fairly complicated right now."

Mahony says each campus will be following guidelines and making changes to their policies as quickly as possible as the year progresses.

"We need to be able to adapt quickly to whatever ends up happening as far as numbers go, so certainly we're all concerned with seeing the increasing numbers. I think the positive thing that we are seeing - and I like to repeat this as much as I can - is the efficacy of the vaccines."

SIUC's new "Protect the Pack" incentive program means vaccinated students can opt-in for prizes and giveaways, along with other promotions.

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