The University Health Center has now vaccinated nearly 1,800 members of the campus community; of those, more than 1,500 have received the full doses (two) of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, with the remainder now awaiting their second dose. Those vaccinated include individuals over 65 years of age, healthcare providers, individuals in healthcare settings, and first responders.

Governor Brian Kemp has announced that, effective March 8, Georgia’s current vaccine eligibility will be expanded to include the following: adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their caregivers, parents of children with complex medical conditions, all K-12 educators and school staff, and pre-K and DECAL staff. We are actively engaged with the University System of Georgia and Georgia Department of Public Health on the state’s vaccination plan so that we are prepared to move forward quickly once the eligibility for vaccination is expanded further. 

We anticipate that the state’s vaccination process will continue to move in phases. With the new approval of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, along with aggressive mobilization of vaccine production, we are cautiously optimistic that the vaccine supply for UGA will soon increase significantly. So far, we have received only small supplies of vaccine; prior to a delivery today, we had not received any new shipments for the past two weeks. While we understand that many of you are anxious to be immunized, we cannot administer vaccines that we do not have—we also cannot move ahead of state authorization. Therefore, we must ask for your continued patience with the process.

As you know, we surveyed the campus community several weeks ago to ascertain your interest in receiving vaccines and to understand how many of you had existing health conditions that could place you at higher risk from complications of the coronavirus. We appreciate the strong response to the survey, which has enabled us to be ready to move to the next group, when authorized to do so. 

Once authorized, we anticipate that each week—based on the projected number of vaccines available for the following week—a random weighted sample of individuals in the identified groups will be issued invitations for vaccination. This process will continue in accordance with the volume of vaccine received. However, we must caution that the definition of individuals identified in the phases is fluid and subject to change by state authorities. We anticipate that age, existence of comorbidities, and level of exposure in job functions will be determining factors.

Please know that you will be contacted by the University Health Center when it is your turn to be vaccinated. Vaccines will only be given by appointment, and we are being very careful to ensure that no vaccine is wasted. Per UGA Human Resources, you will not need to take leave for your vaccine appointments. We have prepared a brief video that explains how the process is managed at the University Health Center. If you have not already watched the video, we encourage you to do so.

When you are contacted, please make your appointment as soon as possible. With every person we vaccinate, our community becomes safer and stronger.

In the meantime, we remind you that it is critical that each member of our community continues to observe all the protections that have served us well to date. UGA’s number of COVID-19 cases and positivity rate for testing last week were at the lowest levels we have recorded since testing began in August—at 51 cases and just under 1%, respectively—but that does not mean that we can let down our guard. We urge you to remain diligent in washing your hands, wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding crowds, even if you have already received both doses of the vaccine.  

We also strongly encourage you to take advantage of our continuing surveillance testing that is being offered. Testing at Legion Field can be scheduled through the VetViewwebsite. 

We continue to ask for your patience and understanding as we work to administer the vaccine in an orderly and efficient manner in adherence with the phased structure that is prescribed. We must abide by CDC and GDPH guidelines for administration until everyone who wants a vaccine gets a vaccine. You will be notified as additional information becomes available. 

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep our community Georgia Strong/Dawg Strong.