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  • Collegian staff

Some staff eligible for vaccine April 19, most students ineligible until May 1

Chrissy Ewald

Staff writer

Graphic by Anushka Srivastav.

All Oregonians age 16 and older qualify to receive a COVID-19 vaccine starting May 1, according to [new guidelines] released on Mar. 19 by Governor Kate Brown. This includes all members of the Willamette community. Frontline workers, including Willamette faculty, staff, contractors and administrators whose jobs require close or routine contact with people outside their household, qualify for COVID-19 vaccinations starting April 19 as part of Group 7 of Phase 1b of Oregon’s [vaccination timeline]. Group 7 of Phase 1b also includes members of multigenerational households and adults 16-44 years old with one or more underlying health conditions that increase risk of susceptibility to infection or symptoms of COVID-19.

Vice President for Human Resources Shana Sechrist specified in an email that the Willamette administration understands the “employees whose jobs typically require them to interact with other people (students, faculty or staff) will be eligible to get the vaccine” on April 19. The list of Willamette employees who will become fully eligible for the vaccine on April 19 [includes] any administrators, faculty, cleaning staff, Bon Appetit employees, student employees or contractors whose work necessitates close or routine contact with people outside their household.

Several additional changes are happening at Willamette as part of the Reopening Committee’s (ROC) process of revisiting “Willamette specific guidelines that are in excess of what is required by the current and evolving public health guidance.” The ROC has approved the removal of directional signage in College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) academic buildings, though the College of Law and Atkinson Graduate School of Management (AGSM) will retain directional signage in their academic buildings at least through the end of spring semester 2021. The ROC also announced intent to resume hearing proposals for lecturers and presenters to hold talks on campus.

Though the Bishop Wellness Center is not currently administering vaccines, Director of Bishop Wellness Center Don Thomson said in an email that “Bishop is currently applying to be a distribution site for the vaccine for students.” Since most Willamette students are unlikely to be eligible for vaccinations before the end of spring semester 2021, Thomson said Bishop would be unlikely to get vaccines before summer 2021 at the earliest if its application is approved. “However, we are all learning about new virus variants and the possible need for booster shots in subsequent years. We expect vaccinations to be an issue lasting beyond the spring semester, and will continue to stay abreast of the emerging public health guidance,” Thomson said.

Eligible Willamette community members can receive vaccines at vaccination sites like the Oregon Convention Center, the State Fairgrounds and local hospitals. They may also be able to get a vaccine at certain local pharmacies. To find out whether you are eligible and to schedule a vaccination date with a vaccine provider once you are, Oregonians can use the Oregon Health Authority website [Get Vaccinated Oregon].

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