Butler will be opening a clinic to vaccinate faculty and staff. Photo courtesy of unsplash.com.
KATIE DEAN | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
When several COVID-19 vaccines were first approved, the next question was one of logistics — specifically, how the vaccine would be distributed to individuals. Since late December, hospitals and various pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS have been the main vaccine sites. Now, Butler will soon be among the many offering the vaccine to the community.
On Feb. 26, the university stated briefly in an email that a vaccine clinic will soon be coming to campus in coordination with the Indiana Department of Health.
Brent Rockwood, vice president, chief of staff, said that because higher education is an essential business, the university is working with the state health department to vaccinate faculty and staff who have not already been vaccinated. Rockwood said that the university completed a survey that included the number of students, faculty and staff in order to give the state health department a better idea of how many doses might be needed.
While there is not a specific date the state will provide the doses, Rockwood said the state indicated that the vaccinations could start in late spring. It is unclear if students will receive the vaccine at the same time as faculty and staff, but Rockwood said they may receive more doses at a later date to have for students to receive the vaccine.
Rockwood said he expects COVID-19 vaccinations will look similar to how flu shots are administered at the university. In fall 2020, students signed up for a time slot and then received the vaccine inside Hinkle where there were stations set up for nurses to administer the doses.
As of now, Rockwood said the university is prohibited under federal law to make the COVID-19 vaccine a requirement for all community members. He said he is unsure if the university would ever make it mandatory, should the law change, but that their main focus will be on encouraging students to educate themselves on the vaccine.
“There will be a conversation around [requiring the vaccine],” Rockwood said. “We don’t know how it’s going to unfold, but it will be a conversation and we’ll get input from public health experts and internal teams and medical teams as to that decision, but as of right now we’re planning on encouraging the vaccine for the community.”
While healthcare workers and elderly individuals have been the main recipients of the vaccine so far, students are also looking forward to becoming a part of the vaccinated community.
Grace Roberts, a sophomore strategic communication major, said that she was happy to hear of the vaccine clinic coming to campus. Roberts said she hopes students can receive the vaccine before going home for the summer so that people are able to go home without the worry of possibly infecting their families. She also noted that because faculty and staff are essential workers, they should be vaccinated.
“I think it’s a really good idea,” Roberts said. “We should be worried about our faculty and staff because they’re the reason why we’re all here and the backbone of our school.”
Anna Kemper, a junior elementary education major, also looks forward to the university implementing the vaccine clinic. She said this will be an important step in keeping the community safe and bringing us closer to a more normal semester this fall.
“I believe it would be extremely beneficial to put a vaccine clinic on campus for faculty and hopefully students,” Kemper said. “I am glad that Butler is taking these steps to ensure we can have a safe and normal semester in the future.”
The Butler Collegian will continue to follow this story as more information becomes available.