COVID-19 Vaccinations: What We Know

Jan 25, 2021 11:25 AM

During last week’s virtual coffee hours, I promised to provide updates to students and employees regarding vaccine availability for our campus. Late Friday afternoon, the state’s university and college presidents received a letter from Dr. Jim Fielder, the Maryland Higher Education Commission Secretary. Excerpts from the letter include the following:

“Governor Hogan announced that Maryland moved into Phase 1B … ‘educators’ are included in 1B as a specific category.

Colleges, universities, and postsecondary schools should make an assessment of faculty, staff, and students regarding risk of exposure and risk of infection based on their role and responsibility on campus. Priority should be given using the categories provided in Governor Hogan’s vaccination plan. …

Campus leadership should coordinate vaccination efforts with their local health department for applicable individuals.”

Our pandemic recovery team has been identifying needs and reviewing the best information available concerning the vaccination rollout for several weeks now. Some FSU employees and students may have already received initial doses of the vaccine through the state’s rollout plan as members of priority groups — such as health care or first responders, as well as by age or risk factors. (These vaccinations were not distributed by the university, as we currently do not have doses of the vaccine.)

As of this morning, as the state moves into Phase 1C, we have prioritized further planning and coordination efforts with the Allegany County Health Department regarding our continued commitment to serve as a point of distribution as part of the vaccination rollout. The University System of Maryland also continues to assist us and other USM institutions in these efforts, and I want to thank the system for their advocacy.

As stated in the most recent information, “due to the limited supply of vaccine, Maryland does not anticipate significantly fulfilling any specific educational vaccine requests until a majority of Marylanders over age 65 are vaccinated.” We will keep the campus updated.

I ask that everyone continue to participate in testing protocols and follow campus health and safety guidelines to keep the campus community safe.

Ronald Nowaczyk, PhD