Coronavirus on the Hilltop: COVID-19 Vaccines are in Full Swing at SMU

The once still and quiet vaccination tent behind the health clinic is now bustling with patients. Music blares over the speakers, the room fills with chatter, and for the first time, health officials prop the door open as people flow in. At last, vaccine distribution is in full swing at SMU.

So far, the university has received two allotments of 1,700 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, along with an equal number of second doses for follow-up shots. Right now, only students, faculty, and staff are eligible to receive it.

“This vaccine, the way it’s administered, the record-keeping, is so unique and different than anything we’ve had to deal with,” said Arthi Krishnan, a physician at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center.

Just like the pandemic, the vaccine is distinctive from anything most people have seen before. Even the distribution process varies.

The vials storing the Pfizer vaccine must be kept in deep freezers. Over a process of six hours, health officials slowly bring the vaccine to room temperature. With so many details required for each dose. Krishnan, said that’s why the health clinic requires people to sign up ahead of time.

“We need people to register and schedule an appointment,” said Krishnan. “We need to know the numbers, and we don’t wanna waste any doses.”

Once confirming the appointment, the rest of the process should flow seamlessly. On the day of, each patient arrives at the clinic to check-in. Next, they find a private seat enclosed with tall white panels to receive their vaccine. Then, they wait in the observation area for 15 minutes.

“This [waiting] is recommended because it [the vaccine] is so new,” said Krishnan. “If anybody is gonna have a reaction to it will typically happen immediately, and we wanna be available and ready to take any necessary actions.”

After waiting, the patient is free to go on their way. All in all, Krishnan added that the health center is excited to be distributing the vaccine finally.

As Texas vamps up vaccine distribution, SMU asked students, faculty, and staff to record their shots online because it helps health officials know how many vaccines the university needs. The SMU community can register for the vaccine online.

Here’s What Else You Need to Know:

  • The CDC recommends a pause in distributing the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine because of a concern about blood clots. Even without this vaccine, President Biden says there is still enough for every American.
  • The CDC says nearly 23% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.
  • Governor Greg Abbott banned the requirement of vaccine credentials for Texas agencies and state-funded organizations.