By Holly Feola and Rebecca Osowski – Opinion Editor & 1851 Contributor
On January 13, the community received an email from Director of Health Services Richard Arnold about how the university has been authorized to be a Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Provider, becoming one of the first universities in the country to be able to administer the Moderna vaccine to part of its population.
“This important milestone marks a critical turning point in our continuing efforts over the last ten months to safeguard the health of the Lasell community, and help hasten the end of the pandemic,” said Arnold in the email.
With the pandemic going on for almost a year, many people are becoming eager to receive their vaccines in hopes to resume life in a new normal. In response to those awaiting their vaccine, the Vaccine Standby Program was created to help distribute vaccines in case there were any left over from vaccinating the healthcare workers and emergency responders.
Those eligible to be included in the Vaccine Standby Program are Lasell faculty, staff and their partners such as Barnes & Noble, Chartwells, VPNE Parking Solutions, and Brightview Landscaping services.
On February 11 and 12, individuals part of the Vaccine Standby Program participated in a clinic held on the bottom floor of the Science and Technology Center. The selection of employees was chosen at random.
According to the MyLasell information page “Lasell University Covid-19 Vaccine Standby Program,” “Due to the number of employees at Lasell, the privacy of everyone’s health conditions, and the uniqueness of the individual roles we each play on campus, there is no equitable way to rank which employees who fall under Phase III should receive the vaccine before others.”
If a person has underlying medical conditions that put them at high risk of contracting the virus, they may be eligible to be vaccinated in Phase I or II of the rollout. People with conditions should contact their primary healthcare provider for an alternate vaccination site.
“Lasell may administer the vaccine to all of its students, faculty, staff, and external vendors in accordance with the Massachusetts vaccine distribution timeline,” said Arnold in the email.
First-year Emma Lavallee was able to receive the vaccine at an off-campus site not provided by Lasell. Lavallee showed excitement about getting the vaccine saying, “I think some students will be happy about getting the vaccine as it may be the first step to returning to normal lives. I think others are still apprehensive about it because no one really knows how well it will work or the long-term effects.”
Students are not included in the Vaccine Standby Program now, but as more information develops this could have the potential to change in the future as the Massachusetts distribution strategy changes.