A vending machine offering emergency contraception is coming soon to the Yale University campus.
“There will definitely be Plan B in there and there will definitely some sort of other over the counter medications and there will definitely be condoms available near the machine,” said Ileana Valdez, a Yale College Council senator.
Valdez said the inspiration came from a similar health and wellness machine at Stanford University.
“This idea took off on campus because most of the students don’t have cars so the nearest pharmacy is a pretty long walk away,” Valdez said, “especially with the installation of the new colleges.”
Yale student Grace Cheung proposed the idea last school year.
“I proposed this vending machine because I saw it done at other universities and hoped it would solve the problems of access and stigma related to getting emergency contraception at Yale,” Cheung wrote in an email. “It is often difficult to get, both at Yale Health, and at nearby pharmacies, and it is often a very uncomfortable and humiliating process. Emergency contraception decreases in effectiveness the longer you wait to take it, so ease of access is especially important. In addition, I hoped this machine would not just help make it more of a private process for students, but to also open up the conversation around safe sex on campus.”
The new machine is expected to be installed before students leave for winter break and it will be located in the Good Life Center at Silliman College, Valdez said.
“I think it makes it a lot more accessible to students especially since this is much closer to where a lot of students,” Yale junior Larissa Nguyen said.
Plan B, also known as the “morning after pill,” is already available to students for free at the Yale Health Center on Lock Street.
"Yale Health has made emergency contraception products, such as Plan B and My Way, available free of charge to Yale-affiliated members, including students who waive Yale Health coverage. Members of any gender may request emergency contraception at the pharmacy during regular hours, or from Acute Care after hours. The Paragard IUD is another emergency contraceptive option available in the Ob-Gyn department. Comprehensive counseling regarding contraception and reproductive health are available to all students in the Ob-Gyn department or in Student Health," Yale University Spokesperson Karen Peart said in a statement.
“I definitely don’t think enough students know it’s kind of not made clear on the websites I think because Yale doesn’t want to be super public with it, but it would be great if there could be more communication about that,” Yale junior Trina White told NBC Connecticut.
The College Council is working to spread the word about Plan B’s 24/7 availability at the health center, Valdez said, adding the benefit of the new machine “gets rid of the fear that one might have going to the health center and having to talk someone especially if this is something that’s happening late at night.”
Valdez said they want to work with the Yale Health Center to subsidize the cost for Plan B in the machine. She said at first the prices will be similar to what you would find at a pharmacy.