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Health Officials Say International and Out-of-State Students Qualify for COVID-19 Vaccine

Governor Mike Parson recently announced all Missouri residents will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 9 - and health officials say that does apply to international and out-of-state college students.

Stephanie Browning, the director of Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, said out-of-state and international students qualify to sign up for vaccine appointments with proof of address.

“If you’re using your local address that you use here, we consider you our resident,” Browning said. “You should be fine to get vaccinated here, same with the international students. So just have them use their local address and everything should be good,” says Browning.

Genoveva Gomez is a senior-year international student at Columbia College who recently got her vaccine at an MU Health Care mass vaccination clinic. She said she has lived in Columbia for four years but was worried she’d be turned away for providing vaccinators with her foreign identification documents.

“They asked for an official government ID, so I decided to go in with my foreign passport, Ecuadorian passport,” Gomez said. “And in the back of my head, I was a little bit worried that they would see a foreign passport and, you know, kind of raise their brow about whether or not I should be getting the vaccine,” says Gomez.

Gomez said her experience with receiving the vaccine turned out smoothly, and she was happy to learn vaccinators only wanted to confirm her identification. She also said she hopes this clarification can help other students in a similar position sign up to get a vaccine.

Missouri is currently vaccinating everyone who is eligible under Phase 1A and Phase 1B tiers. Phase 2 will open up on March 29. Browning said she suspects most students will fall under Phase 3, which opens April 9, but recommends they check before signing up for an appointment.

Students interested in learning more information about vaccine eligibility can visit covidvaccine.mo.gov.

Xcaret Nuñez studies radio/television journalism and religious studies at the University of Missouri — Columbia.
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