Emerson, Tufts Medical Center vaccine partnership falls through

Emersons+testing+site+at+Tufts+Medical+Center.

Photo: Hongyu Liu

Emerson’s testing site at Tufts Medical Center.

By Dana Gerber, News Editor

In a reversal from previous rollout plans, Emerson will not be able to depend fully on Tufts Medical Center for distributing COVID-19 vaccines to students, staff, and faculty.

Erik Muurisepp, assistant vice president for campus life and “COVID Lead,” wrote in a Thursday email that issues with supply constraints and timing of the entrance to Phase Three—which happen on April 19, just 10 days before the end of Emerson’s spring semester—will prevent the college from seeing through their previously announced vaccine partnership with TMC.    

Instead, Muurisepp encouraged students to sign up to receive one of the three approved vaccines on their own before or after they leave campus, before returning in the fall.  

“As you may know from reading the news, the majority of the vaccine supply has shifted from the hospitals to the State run sites at Gillette, Fenway Park, Hynes Convention Center, Reggie Lewis Center, Danvers DoubleTree Hotel, Natick Mall, etc,” Muurisepp said. “This shift, for the spring term, means that Tufts Medical Center will not have sufficient inventory to provide Emerson College with a vaccination clinic as previously communicated.”

Muurisepp added the college is “continuing to explore the possibility of setting up a vaccination clinic with Tufts Medical Center at the start of the fall semester should the supply chain opens up.”

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When students receive the vaccine, Muurisepp said individuals should keep a record of their vaccine and upload them to the Student Health Portal for the Center for Health and Wellness to verify.

“We know that this is disappointing news; we’ve heard from many members of our community that they were looking forward to getting a vaccine in a now-familiar place,” Muurisepp said.

This announcement comes one day after Gov. Charlie Baker announced the state’s progression to Phase Three of the vaccine rollout, which will cover any member of the general public over the age of 16 beginning in mid-April. 

The vaccine rollout in the state has received waves of backlash, with appointment scheduling hurdles, halting distribution to hospitals to supply pharmacies and vaccination sites, and conflicts with essential workers over their eligibility among the chief criticisms. As of Wednesday, 972,103 individuals in the state are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, about 14 percent of the state’s population. 

Emerson College Police Department officers and Center for Health and Wellness staff were eligible to receive inoculations as part of Phase One, which began in January.

Residents can pre-register to book appointments for vaccines on the state’s vaccination website. Appointments will be offered according to eligibility and availability, and more updates and registration websites will be available in April.