Updated: Sep 23
After a long 12 months, relief is on the way in the form of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The university has received 500 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which Bob Fisher shared in an email to students, faculty and staff on Tuesday.
“After months and months of effort members of our Board of Trust, university leadership, and our Health Services team to convince state officials to allocate vaccine to Belmont and other area colleges and universities, it appears we have broken through,” Fisher wrote.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose shot, ideal for college students who may not be on campus to receive both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Those who receive the first doses will be based on a COVID-19 vaccine appointment interest survey sent out by Health Services on March 18 “which prioritizes individuals based on age and other risk factors.”
The news comes just a week after Gov. Bill Lee announced all Tenneseans 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine by April 5.
Last week, Director of Health Services Krystal Huesmann said the university has had a plan for vaccinating students since the fall, adding that Belmont anticipates being able to vaccinate several hundred people at a time.
Though it’s likely the university will be able to begin vaccinations soon, Fisher stressed that if students have plans to get the vaccine somewhere else, stay the course and get vaccinated now.
Belmont doesn’t have a set timeline on when it will receive more vaccines and cannot guarantee a shot for everyone on campus.
“It is the clear advice of the CDC that everyone be vaccinated for COVID-19 to help our world get the pandemic under control – I’m counting on you to make every effort to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Fisher wrote.
Students who completed the survey will be contacted directly by Health Services.
In the interim, Health Services plans to continue surveillance testing this semester.
Clinics will be open this summer and hope to offer some form of COVID-19 testing, Director Huesmann said.
Students, faculty and staff should expect to receive updates about the vaccine via email as soon as information is available.
This article written by Sarah Maninger.