The university has restarted the COVID-19 vaccine distribution process after it was put on hold for weeks due to a lack of access to vaccine doses.
On April 8, ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert announced that the university’s Medical and Counseling Care Clinic would receive 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine to distribute throughout the community. This comes after the university struggled to receive doses throughout the spring semester.
Dr. Tamara Long, the vice president of enrollment and student life at ACU, is encouraged by finally getting a large dose of the vaccines, after all the things the university had to do for applying for them each week.
“We first started requesting the vaccines weekly starting in January,” Long said, “which had a lot of office and clerical work needed to be done. We’ve been requesting them every week, and when we finally got that first batch during spring break, we thought that since we finally got approved, then we should start receiving weekly allotments, but then there was the contamination hold-up with Johnson and Johnson. It started to get pretty exhausting asking and always being told no almost every week, but it was encouraging to finally get this larger batch.”
Though the university has not received the second dose of the vaccine yet, they will receive the second dose as soon as they become available.
“Similar to how the city gets it, we get the distribution of the first dose, then we are guaranteed the equal distribution of the second dose,” Long said. “At this point, we don’t know when we will get the second dose. It could be 21 days post, or it can be anytime after, but what we are telling people at this point is that we will get you your second dose, but we can’t schedule that time quite yet, though we will let you know as soon as we do.”
If ACU receives the second doses with the proper timing, Long expects the second doses to arrive during Finals week.
With the coming of the vaccine, the university has offered plenty of incentives to the ACU community to receive the Moderna vaccine. Those who receive the vaccine may be eligible to win $1,000 or $500 scholarships, dinners at Perini Ranch SteakHouse or Vagabond Pizza or an Apple Watch Series 6.
At this time, ACU strongly recommends all of its students, faculty and staff to receive one of the COVID-19, whether it be the Moderna vaccine that the university is offering or the Pfizer vaccine that is being distributed among the Abilene community.
Even though the university is strongly recommending the ACU community to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, it will not require members of the community to receive a vaccine in order to attend in the fall semester, as also announced in Schubert’s email on April 8.
Long says the university came to this decision based on what the state of Texas has required in terms of health protocols and requirements.
“We’ve never required anything outside of what the state requires,” Long said, “so we try not to act like we are the end all be all on health and disease control. Of course, we take and give out recommendations, but we want to be careful not to pretend to be the experts on what’s the best for community health or for young adults and their decision-making. We encourage it, and based on what we know, we feel like it is a good choice to keep us healthy, safe and in school, but we’re not going to require the vaccine.”