Vaccines will be available on campus beginning Friday, March 12, to people who work on campus, according to an email from Provost Noel Wilkin. Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine is available and only those who meet Mississippi State Department of Health guidelines on who can receive the vaccine will be eligible to be vaccinated on campus.
On-campus vaccinations are only available to people who work at the university at this time, including student workers and those who work in Aramark locations on campus.
“If you have not already received a vaccine, and are not scheduled to receive a vaccine at another location, we strongly encourage all workers on campus (faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduate student workers) who meet the criteria (from MSDH) to sign up for an appointment to get vaccinated,” Wilkin said.
Vaccines will be available at the Tad Smith Coliseum starting on Friday, and appointments are available on Friday and Saturday of this week and Tuesday and Thursday of next week.
Vaccinations will take place inside the coliseum, which has been set up for potential distribution for over a month. Patients will receive a parking pass and paperwork to bring to their appointment via email beforehand. Social distancing and masks are required inside the facility, and patients must wait at least 15 minutes before leaving after receiving their dose in case of an allergic reaction.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, there is a remote chance that people could develop severe allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the face and throat, rash or dizziness from the Moderna vaccine while the Centers of Disease Control reported that 21 people developed anaphylaxis after the first 1.8 million doses of Pfizer vaccine had been administered in January. Initially, the only available brand of vaccine available on campus will be Pfizer.
Administrators have encouraged university community members who are apprehensive about both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine that they are safe. Dr. Hubert Spears, a staff physician at the Employee Health Center, said the COVID-19 vaccine is the best and the safest vaccine he has ever seen.
In a panel on vaccination last month, Dr. Lauren Bloodworth, a clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, said the university is set up to administer around 400-500 vaccines per day. Pharmacists and pharmacy students under supervision will administer the vaccines on campus.
The university’s Vaccine Distribution and Administration Task Force has had students trained and prepared to administer vaccines on campus for months while they waited for the first shipment to arrive. Pharmacy students have also been signing up for potential shifts to volunteer at the Tad Smith Coliseum since Feb. 8.
As of this week, 799,782 vaccinations have been administered in Mississippi and while only 293,379 people have been fully vaccinated in the state. In Lafayette County, 19,478 people have been vaccinated.