After an unprecedented year of navigating a global pandemic, adults in Texas may be nearing the light at the end of the tunnel, with state-wide COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for all adults starting Monday, March 29.
SMU staff and students are wondering how this new eligibility could impact the timeline for SMU to receive doses, and according to SMU’s director of strategic communications, Dianne Anderson, members of the community are eager to get vaccinated.
“The emails and inquiries that we get through the Mustang Strong website are predominately from faculty, staff and students asking when they can receive the vaccine,” Anderson said.
An email went out to all SMU students, staff, and faculty over the weekend, announcing that the Bob Smith Health Center had finally received its first share of 1,170 first-round Pfizer vaccine doses after months of continued requests. The email also contained the link to register for the vaccine, which can also be accessed through the Mustang Strong vaccine webpage.
“SMU has been requesting vaccines since the beginning of the year,” Anderson said, “The state changed its ordering process toward the end of January and we have requested at least 1000 doses every week since then”.
SMU was previously only able to obtain doses for police and healthcare workers on campus, but beginning Monday, the health center will begin distributing their 1,170 first-round doses on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, this first allocation of doses will go quick, and there is uncertainty about when SMU might receive more doses in the future.
“We don’t know when we might get future allocations, how many doses or which vaccine it might be,” Anderson said, “These doses were a transfer allocation provided by a large vaccine hub through Dallas County to assist in the delivery of the vaccine to the largest number of people as quickly as possible”.
SMU’s email mentioned that students, faculty, and staff can also register for the vaccine through the Methodist Health System, and in the meantime, encouraged the SMU community to continue following CDC guidelines and to report once they get vaccinated through the Mustang Strong vaccine webpage so that administrators can understand what changes can be made on campus.
A growing number of students have also been able to register for doses of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson at Fair Park in downtown Dallas, through dallascounty.org, and students who work on campus may even qualify for vaccines at pharmacies such as Walgreens.
Third-year student, Meredith Lloyd, works as a tour guide on campus, which made her eligible for the vaccine due to Texas’ guidelines, giving education employees priority.
“It was very convenient- the whole process in the Walgreens took about 30 minutes,” Lloyd recounted, “15 minutes of filling out paperwork and getting the shot, then I waited 15 minutes to make sure I was feeling alright”.
Lloyd received her vaccination at a site in Sherman, Texas, offering another possible solution for staff and students struggling to get an appointment in Dallas County.
“I would 100 percent recommend looking into vaccination sites outside of Dallas County- there’s oftentimes extras that are wasted because of a lack of demand,” Lloyd recommended.
For more information on vaccination sites state-wide, students and staff should visit the Texas Department of State Health Services’ COVID-19 page at dshs.texas.gov.