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COVID-19 vaccine and public health reminders

January 12, 2020

Dear Danforth Campus faculty, staff and students,

As you are likely aware, nationwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has been underway for the past several weeks. This includes here on our Medical Campus, where health-care personnel who meet certain criteria began receiving their first doses of the vaccine late last month. We know there are many questions about the vaccine: Who is eligible, how – and importantly when – they will receive it, and how our public health guidelines might be affected as individuals are getting vaccinated. Here is what we know now:

  • The State of Missouri is responsible for determining when, how and to whom the vaccine is administered. According to the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, Missouri currently is in Phase 1A, which includes health-care workers. BJC HealthCare is one of the state’s approved suppliers of the vaccine.
  • We expect to know more in the coming weeks about the state’s plans for moving to Phase 1B and which groups may then become eligible to receive the vaccine.
  • It is absolutely essential for everyone to understand that regardless of how many individuals on campus have received the vaccine, we will NOT be changing our public health requirements. Masking, physical distancing, screening for symptoms and personal hygiene practices will need to continue for the foreseeable future. 

While we are following the state’s guidance for how the vaccine is administered within the Washington University community, we also are mindful that the entire St. Louis region is suffering under the stress and burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ultimate goal must be for everyone, especially those most at risk, to have access to the vaccine as soon as possible. We will partner with state officials, hospitals and other institutions to help inform this effort as the state works with suppliers to set priorities and timelines for distribution of the vaccine.

We remain exceptionally grateful to all of you for your hard work and resilience as we continue to manage this challenging situation. We will provide updates as we learn more, and you can always check the WashU Together website for the latest information.

The new year seems a fitting opportunity to renew our hope for better days ahead. We have already come a long way, and while the road ahead is still uncertain, there are reasons to be optimistic that 2021 will bring us closer to being together again.

Sincerely,

Beverly Wendland
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs