Jan 15, 2021 | Atlanta, GA
Georgia Tech, in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), began distributing the Covid-19 vaccine last week. The rollout plan for the campus community consists of consecutive phases with corresponding groups.
In its initial allocation, Georgia Tech received both the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.
The first phase of distribution, called Phase 1A+, includes Stamps Health Services staff; CARE staff and Counseling Center staff; Health Initiatives victim advocates and nutritionists; Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) staff; Covid-19 surveillance testing personnel; Athletic Association medical staff and trainers; and Georgia Tech employees ages 65 and older.
Captain Marcus Walton with GTPD was among the first to get vaccinated.
“I was excited because to me it is the sense of knowing that we are one more step closer to getting back to some type of normalcy in the world,” he said.
“Personally, I have family members that I have not visited since the pandemic started, and I would love to go visit and hug them,” Walton said. “Professionally, I am what you call a critical or essential employee, and when I took this job 16 years ago I took an oath that I would do this job to the best of my ability. Taking the vaccine, along with practicing other safety measures, allows me to continue to go out and do my job daily knowing that I am helping and not hurting. I want to be a part of the solution, not the problem.”
Janet Foley, a pharmacist with Stamps Health Services, is working at the vaccine distribution clinic in the Exhibition Hall. As a healthcare worker, she was glad to get it.
“I believe in vaccination, and I believe in the benefit vaccines give to building herd immunity. So I think it’s important for everybody to get vaccinated,” Foley said. “I have trust in the system that the vaccine is safe, so I wanted to get it right away to show my family, neighbors, and everybody that it’s good to get this vaccination.”
Foley, who has been in her job for seven years, said she likes the large turnout for vaccines.
“Demand seems to be pretty high on campus, and that’s encouraging,” she said. “I hope the students come out and get vaccinated when it’s open to them.”
The next phase, Phase 1B, is expected to be open to all faculty and staff, including affiliate, auxiliary, and foundation employees. Phase 1C is expected to include people ages 16 to 64 with medical conditions that increase the risk for severe illness with Covid-19. This includes Georgia Tech students. Phase 2 is expected to include all Georgia Tech students. The DPH is responsible for setting all phases of the vaccine rollout, including the timing.
“We’re ironing out the process to make it faster to get people in and out,” Foley said. “The more of these clinics we do, the faster the process is going to get.”
NOTE: As a reminder, community members in the initial phase of the vaccine distribution — Phase 1A+ — are eligible to schedule an appointment to receive their vaccine. For more information on the Covid-19 vaccine, including the rollout plan for the Georgia Tech community, visit health.gatech.edu/coronavirus/vaccine/