UHS hits COVID vaccination milestone
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
UPDATE: UHS reported crossing the 10,000 vaccine threshold on March 26.
UHS has vaccinated more than 5,000 members of the university community since it began administering the Pfizer vaccine in January. By Friday, UHS will surpass the 6,000 mark, and, with Monday’s announcement that Oklahoma has entered Phase 3 for vaccine eligibility, there’s more good news to come.
UHS Director Chris Barlow said all remaining faculty, staff and students are now eligible to make an appointment to receive the vaccine through UHS. He said UHS expects to receive additional doses of the vaccine next week to help keep pace with demand.
UHS Associate Director of Clinical Operations Pam Stokes said the largest on-campus vaccination event at OSU to date resulted in nearly 1,300 vaccinations. She said UHS is planning to continue mass vaccination clinics for students, faculty and staff with supplies provided by the state.
“We plan to have mass vaccination clinics weekly, even multiple times a week as vaccine supply allows,” she said.
With such high turnout for vaccines within the university community, she said it feels like there’s now a light at the end of the tunnel. Still, Stokes said everyone should continue to follow safety measures and monitor the latest guidelines from the CDC.
Regents Professor of English Elizabeth Grubgeld received her second dose of the vaccine last month. She called the atmosphere at UHS “celebratory.”
“It felt like a miracle,” she said. “I was so relieved and grateful that I could hardly speak. The process was easy, and I had no side effects beyond some soreness at the injection site.
“I'm delighted at the way OSU has been able to contribute to an eventual recovery from this terrible pandemic, and I fervently hope people will continue to wear masks and avoid exposure as even a vaccinated person can still be an asymptomatic carrier and infect someone without having any idea they've done so.”
Joan Donelson Jacques Endowed Professor of Health Promotion Bridget M. Miller said the process at UHS was very efficient and smooth.
“I’m very grateful that even though Stillwater is a smaller community, we have access to this incredible resource at UHS,” she said.
Miller also felt a tremendous sense of relief after getting the vaccine, but she recognizes the pandemic isn’t over yet.
“It’s a gigantic relief, but it’s only a partial step because I’m only one person,” she said. “It requires everybody participating and doing their part. Just like with the masks, which are only effective if most people are using them properly.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Doug Hallenbeck said UHS has done an outstanding job of coordinating, organizing and executing the university’s vaccination plan. He said the university continues to work with Payne County and the city of Stillwater to maximize vaccine distribution and remains focused on combating the spread of COVID-19.
“While I believe we all feel a great sense of hope that the worst is behind us, if we don’t come together and remain vigilant, we could easily see widespread infection that could impact our overall success in fighting this virus,” he said. “We want all our students, faculty and staff to be safe and healthy, and we must all work together to make that happen.”
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