Jacob Oberski and Geoffrey Rapp both rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they were eligible earlier this year.
Their decision paid off.
Oberski, a senior studying operations and supply chain management in The University of Toledo’s John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation, and Rapp, the Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values and senior associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Law, were the grand-prize winners of UToledo’s Rocket Vaccine Incentive Program.
Each received a $2,000 pre-paid gift card, wrapping up an eight-week initiative aimed at encouraging students and employees to get vaccinated and share their vaccine status with the University.
Oberski was eager to get vaccinated for a pair of reasons.
“I wasn’t able to see my grandparents for a very long time and I wanted to have the opportunity to safely see them,” Oberski said. “Also, my sister is a nurse in Michigan and hearing about the situation in her hospital — running low on ventilators and having no rooms available for patients — was scary.”
Rapp, who has taught at the University since 2004, said getting vaccinated as soon as possible was important for him in order to protect his own health and the health of those around him.
“This is what it takes for us to get back to normal as a University, as a community and as a country,” he said. “My family has been fortunate to avoid COVID so far, but I know people who have been severely ill with the virus and know how serious this is. If we can avoid that for our loved ones and for ourselves, we have to do everything we can.”
Rapp also is grateful for how the vaccine has enabled the University to return with a more vibrant fall semester.
“With the widespread availability of the vaccine, incentives and the University’s requirement for vaccines, the energy and the feeling the students and teachers have is completely different this year,” he said. “We’re in normal classrooms. That has made every day of class more stimulating for students.”
Other prizes included parking passes, smart TVs, gaming systems, dining dollars and unique experiences, such as a private showing at the UToledo Ritter Planetarium.
All UToledo students and employees, including those working remotely, are required to upload proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before Nov. 15 or have an approved exemption for medical reasons or sincerely held philosophical or religious beliefs.
Proof of vaccination should be shared through the University’s secure vaccine registry portal. Exemption request forms also can be downloaded and submitted through the portal.
To share proof of vaccination, you’ll need a photo of your COVID-19 vaccination card. If you’ve lost your card, you should contact your vaccine provider for replacement documentation.
For those who were vaccinated via the University, replacement documentation can be requested by calling 419.383.3668 or visiting The University of Toledo Medical Center’s website to request medical records.
The University continues to offer free COVID-19 vaccines at multiple on-campus locations. More information about the vaccine and where faculty, staff and students can get vaccinated is available on the University’s vaccine website.