As the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine begins, the Sam Houston Student Health Center has been established as an approved provider for the COVID-19 vaccine allowing them to provide free vaccinations to students, staff and faculty.
“Currently, the state is focused on releasing the vaccine to hubs or locations that have the ability to administer large volumes of the vaccine,” Student Health Center director Erica Bumpers said. “We are hoping to receive the vaccine later in the spring semester, although a date has not been confirmed. We have requested a specific number of vaccines based on our ability to administer that full allocation in a week and will request a weekly supply thereafter.”
On Feb. 3, Sam Houston State University held a virtual town hall meeting to address COVID-19 concerns, such as testing and vaccines.
“Students, faculty and staff will have access to the vaccine through the Student Health center, but we are not going to be operating as a vaccine hub,” Associate Director of the Office of Health Promotion Megan Richardson said. “Right now, we are expecting a capacity to administer about 100-200 doses of the vaccine per week.”
The process of signing up for the vaccine will include a waitlist for current students, faculty and staff who qualify based on the State of Texas prioritization guidelines, Bumpers explained.
“Currently, the vaccine is in ’emergency use authorization’ status, which means we cannot require people to get it,” Bumpers said. “After receiving full [Food and Drug Administration] approval, requiring a vaccine is based on state, local government or employer mandates.”
Private institutions like Rice University have similar plans to Sam Houston State University. According to Rice University’s Vice President for Administration Kevin Kirby, their goal is to vaccinate everyone on their campus who wants a vaccine. Which is made manageable by their smaller numbers compared to Sam Houston State University.
“We’re preparing to vaccinate up to 10,000 people on the Rice campus, including faculty, students and staff,” Kirby said.
With COVID-19 vaccines on the way, every campus will have different approaches to how vaccinations are distributed. While the approaches will vary, the goal of combating the pandemic and distributing vaccines will remain the same.