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Paxson shares updates on student, faculty COVID-19 vaccination

With 11.9 percent of faculty already vaccinated, University looks to start vaccinating students in the summer

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Vaccination for the larger student population will likely start in the summer, beginning with first-years.

The University will likely begin to vaccinate students over the summer, President Christina Paxson P’19 said at the first faculty meeting of the spring semester Tuesday. 

Associate Professor of Classics and Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee Johanna Hanink additionally discussed faculty’s willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible, noting that 11.9 percent of faculty have already received the vaccine.

Unless “there is some big increase in (COVID-19 vaccine) supply, the University is looking at vaccinating students over the summer,” the majority of which will likely be first-years, Paxson said. She added that she is hopeful that most faculty and staff will already be vaccinated by mid-summer.  

The University does not currently have direct access to vaccine supplies, said Russell Carey ’91 MA’06, executive vice president for planning and policy. 

Still, the University has repeatedly offered “to host a vaccination site for the Providence community,” Paxson said. “We want to be here to provide service and help get this vaccine out to as many people as possible, as soon as possible, consistent with the (Rhode Island) state guidelines.”

Hanink said that out of 578 faculty who had shared their vaccination status, 11.9 percent are already vaccinated or are in the process of being vaccinated. According to a survey sent to all faculty, 82.9 percent “absolutely agree” that they plan on getting vaccinated as soon as they are eligible, while 3.9 percent somewhat agree, 0.7 percent are undecided, 0.2 percent disagree and 0.5 percent completely disagree.

Paxson added that she was heartened by the results from the faculty survey. Looking forward, the University now has “to start collecting information from other parts of our community to see how they feel about it” and “think about how (to) best educate the campus.”

Patient-facing students working at Brown Emergency Medical Services and Alpert Medical School have already been vaccinated, The Herald previously reported. Staff at the Department of Public Safety and Health Services have also received at least the first dose of the vaccine. 

Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Executive Director of Health and Wellness Vanessa Britto MMSc’96 previously told The Herald that students could receive the vaccine as early as late spring semester, though distribution to the student body is ultimately contingent on state supply and guidelines.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that 95 percent of faculty responded to the survey on vaccination. In fact, the 95 percentage point cited at the meeting describes the proportion of faculty already vaccinated, in the process of being vaccinated, or registered as absolutely wanting the vaccine as soon as they are eligible. The Herald regrets the error.

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