The University of Maine black bear outside of Memorial Gym is decorated in a blue mask on Monday, the first day of students moving into dorms. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The University of Maine will host a vaccine clinic Wednesday afternoon as part of an effort to vaccinate college students before the end of the semester.

The clinic, provided by Penobscot Community Health Care and staffed by University of Maine nursing students and faculty, will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday at the Wells Conference Center on the university’s campus in Orono. It will offer both the one-shot Johnson & Johnson and two-dose Moderna vaccines.

The vaccines are free and no appointment is necessary. People with health insurance are asked to bring their insurance card. The clinic aims to boost vaccination rates among University of Maine employees and students, but vaccines are available for members of the public as well.

The rollout of vaccines targeted at students comes in the final week of the university’s semester, with classes set to end on Friday and commencement scheduled for May 8. Previously, the University of Maine System had encouraged students and staff to get vaccinated through other health care providers and pharmacies in accordance with state guidance.

After Maine officials removed limits on special clinics for higher education students earlier this week, state universities are looking into additional opportunities for campus-based clinics, a spokesperson said Tuesday. Several of Maine’s private colleges will make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for returning students in the fall, though the public university system has not indicated so far that it might take that step.

“We now have new opportunities to do even more to get our students vaccinated and to reach our goal of being Maine’s most vaccinated workforce,” said University of Maine Chancellor Dannel Malloy in a Tuesday release. “This is our shot to end the pandemic. We’re taking it.”