Emerson College Police Department officers and Center for Health and Wellness staff will receive COVID-19 vaccines as part of Phase One of the Massachusetts Vaccination plan, with the rest of the Emerson community to follow in Phase Three.
College officials announced the vaccination plan Monday in a post to Emerson Today. The shots will be administered by Tufts Medical Center, the same institution that coordinated Emerson’s COVID-19 testing, the post says.
Vaccinations began for first responders as part of Phase One on Jan. 11, following the two-dose inoculation of frontline healthcare workers and residents, as well as staff of long-term care facilities. Phase Three, which will allow the general public to receive shots, is slated to begin between April and June.
As of Jan. 7, the state reported the vaccination of nearly 140,000 individuals.
Dates that staff, faculty, and students are eligible to receive vaccines through Tufts Medical Center are not yet available. The post said Phase Three vaccinations will be distributed in line with “Massachusetts protocols, order of priority, and as its supplies allow.”
“Right now, higher ed has no upper hand in getting access to the vaccine,” Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and “COVID Lead” Erik Muurisepp said in an interview. “It’s realistic that we will not see mass rollout of our vaccine program anytime soon.”
Muurisepp said the college has not yet determined whether they will require students receive the vaccine in order to return to campus in the fall.
Students should not wait to receive the vaccine through Emerson if they can get it elsewhere prior to the start of the Fall 2021 semester, as the state may not reach Phase Three until the summer, Muurisepp said.
“When we negotiated this with them last summer, we had no idea that the vaccine would be ready this soon,” he said in a phone interview. “Once it is ready available to the mass population, they will help us coordinate. I would say if individuals have the ability or have access to the vaccine, they should take it when they have that ability.”