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After a large amount of interest was shown in COVID-19 vaccinations among faculty members, Eastern Kentucky University has sent out information to faculty regarding the vaccination rollout.

EKU plans to work with the Madison County Health Department and other local health providers to give faculty a better opportunity to access the vaccine when they are able to with the phased distribution approach, an approach Kentucky has taken to vaccinate the most vulnerable facets of our population first. The university will not be directly distributing the vaccine.

Faculty at EKU can work with the university to gain access to the vaccine through local pharmacies, health departments and healthcare providers during Phase 1C, when university professors would be included. Teachers at Model Laboratory School will be able to work with the university to gain access to the vaccine during Phase 1B, when K-12 teachers are included as frontline workers.

The university is already working to get access to the vaccine for faculty members that may already be included in earlier phases of the vaccine rollout plan, such as those who are 75 or older or those who have underlying medical conditions that make them more susceptible to complications.

“Vaccinations are important to developing herd immunity, making the virus less prevalent,” said Bryan Makinen, director of public safety.

The rollout of vaccinations among faculty members is dependent both on where they fall in the phased approach as well as the supply of vaccines in the state. A solid timeline for when vaccines will be available to faculty members is not available at this time, as the rate at which the state will move through the phases of vaccinations is uncertain.

In the future, students can expect to receive vaccinations in a later phase of the proposed rollout. The majority of traditional students will be included in Phase 3 of the Kentucky distribution plan, which includes anyone age 16 or older.

“Students will be in multiple different phases, and some may have already been offered the vaccine,” said Makinen.

Students on campus waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine to be available to them should still follow protocols to keep themselves safe in the classroom environment.

“I plan on getting the vaccine but I’m going to wait a while because I want to see more data on the side effects. I’m pretty low on the priority list anyway,” said Shelby Cosper, a biomedical science major from Shelbyville, KY.

Until the virus is under control, many measures that have been used since the beginning of the pandemic to keep both students and faculty safe, such as the choice to take courses online rather than in person remain in effect. The university also continues to follow the guidelines laid out in the Colonel Comeback Plan, which includes frequent hand washing, masks being worn in public places, social distancing, and staying home when you feel sick.

Kentucky faculty members included in Phase 1C are able to register at regional vaccination sites on Jan. 28, with sites opening the first week of February according to Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education. The Madison County Health Department is also compiling a waiting list for Phase 1C individuals.

To find out more about the Kentucky vaccination distribution plan and when you may qualify, visit https://govstatus.egov.com/ky-covid-vaccine.

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