We have all watched with optimism this past week as our country’s courageous healthcare workers were among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. We hope this represents a start to the end of this pandemic that has profoundly impacted so many. Today we want to share some encouraging news for our campus community.
In the coming year, our students, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccination through the Health Center at Auraria on our shared campus. We know you have many questions, including: When can I get it? The truth is we don’t exactly know; but let’s go over what we do know.
More than a decade ago, the Health Center at Auraria became a Point of Dispensing (POD) for public health emergencies. Federal and state officials granted this POD status so that campus health officials could work closely with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment and other partners to distribute medicine, vaccines, and/or medical supplies during emergencies such as a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or a pandemic. The Health Center at Auraria has trained for these events.
Starting in early 2021 and continuing through the fall, our campus will distribute COVID-19 vaccinations at the direction of federal, state, and local public health agencies. There will be no cost to receive the vaccine. While we don’t yet know which vaccine or vaccines will be available, at this time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Emergency Use Authorization for vaccines developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna.
As you may know, the first phase of vaccinations has started at hospitals and that will continue for some time. Federal and state officials continue to develop distribution plans and vaccination priority lists. As that guidance becomes clearer, we commit to sharing how that will impact our own planning.
We know you have lots of questions. Where do I fall in the priority list? Which vaccine will you offer? Is my family eligible for these vaccinations? How do I sign up? Is it safe? Will the vaccination work? What are the side effects? Can I trust that the vaccine is safe?
These are all important and fair questions. Some will be answered at a national/global level and others will require campus input and coordination. We recognize that equity and addressing health disparities must be at the core of our approach. We commit to including our minoritized communities in an inclusive tri-institutional process.
We’re all in this together and we promise to provide the best information as soon as it is available. For now, please let us know your top questions about this process and how we can best communicate the answers. We have established a webform here for this purpose. While we are not able to answer these questions individually, we will use them to inform our decisions and compile future FAQs. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has a vaccine FAQ page that may assist in answering some of your questions.
After such a challenging year, we hope that this message provides some comfort during this holiday season.
Please be safe and be well!
Everette Freeman, Ed.D., President
Community College of Denver
Janine Davidson, Ph.D., President
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Michelle Marks, Ph.D., Chancellor
University of Colorado Denver
Colleen Walker, Chief Executive Officer
Auraria Higher Education Center