Most Marshall University faculty members have received both shots of the coronavirus vaccine for all those who requested to receive it. West Virginia has been one of the most efficient states in its vaccine rollout, and Marshall University has been one of the largest providers of vaccines in the Huntington area.
Kristen Lillvis is the Chair of the Faculty Senate, and a professor in the English department said she felt the vaccine rollout has been smooth, and the process of signing up to receive the vaccine over email is simple. “I heard a lot of faculty who have been excited to get the vaccine,” she said.
The rollout has been aided by nursing, medical and pharmacy students, who have served as volunteers throughout the process.
“If we didn’t have those volunteers… we would have to rely on other clinics elsewhere. A lot of people stepped up and are doing jobs they don’t normally do, and it’s made it a lot easier,” said Tracy Smith, who is normally the director of Environmental Health and Safety; however, since last year Smith has been the incident command leader over all things related to COVID19.
The vaccination of faculty and university employees is a significant milestone for the university’s path towards going back to an entirely in-person semester. Still, the greater challenge will be the widespread inoculation of students as time progresses.
“Once we get through this round with faculty and staff, we’re not going to receive any more doses in the immediate future, but I do know there is talk as more and more vaccine is made available,” Smith said.
Smith mentioned the possibility of Marshall shifting into having clinics on campus in a broader county-wide vaccination effort.
It is still yet to be seen how the vaccination of students will take place or when it will start. Marshall is still waiting on word from the Higher Education Policy Commission on if there will be allotments of vaccines given to students. Students may likely receive a vaccine through their local pharmacy or another clinic, not necessarily on campus at Marshall.
As more vaccines become available, perhaps as soon as the next couple of weeks, there will be guidance on how this process might start.
“That’s our next goal, to get all the students who want a vaccine, to get them vaccinated. We are working on that,” Smith said.
Tyler Spence can be contacted at [email protected]