Campus Coronavirus News

UH signs up to be COVID-19 vaccine distribution site

The UH Student Health Center signed up to serve as a distribution site for the COVID-19 vaccine and if approved, it could begin receiving, storing and administering doses next year. 

The Student Health Center began the process to register with the Texas Department of State Health Services in November, but has not been provided with a timeline for approval. Their efforts intend to mitigate viral spread, as on-campus coronavirus cases continue to climb. 

“The Student Health Center wants to be able to provide the vaccine to students who voluntarily choose to be immunized as soon as available and allowed,” said interim executive director of the UH Student Health Center Cheryl Person.

“It is important for us to stay on the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation and provide resources to our students with regard to testing or vaccination.”

However, it may be months before the vaccine becomes available to the campus community. 

The first shipments of the vaccine in the state, which arrived at four different healthcare facilities on Monday, will be distributed among first-tier priority personnel including frontline healthcare workers, long-term care facility staff and emergency responders. 

The state’s level-based distribution system does not stipulate when colleges and universities approved to serve as vaccine distributors will begin receiving doses.

Harrington expects an increase in the number of vaccine distribution sites, which could include the University, as more doses are allotted to qualifying providers across the state. 

“Increased allotments are expected in January and the following months, so we expect distribution sites to expand as the vaccine is rolled out to more and more people in the coming months,” Harrington said. 

Management information systems senior Joel Phillips would get the vaccine if it becomes available on campus. He feels it’s a great way to improve student safety and slow viral spread.

“I think that having a place on campus to allow those living on campus to get vaccinated is a good idea,” Phillips said. “I feel very safe on campus right now, but we are all at somewhat higher risk than someone able to live at home and not have to use public spaces like the dining hall.” 

Management information systems and supply chain management junior Alysia Sombillo also plans to get vaccinated, but closer to her off-campus home.

She also thinks that the vaccine will be important to minimizing the spread of COVID-19 but worries about people being wary of the vaccine. 

“I think UH being a (COVID-19) vaccine distributor could mitigate the spread of (COVID-19) among community members, but there might be skepticism to the vaccine and students might not want to take it,” Sombillo said. 

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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