What started as a single shipment of 1,200 Covid-19 vaccine doses on Jan. 12 has grown to a full-fledged campus vaccination effort that sees nearly 1,000 people being inoculated daily.
With Covid-19 vaccines available to all Georgia residents 16 years of age and older, Georgia Tech’s vaccine clinics are now able to meet the demand of students, faculty, and staff who have been eager for appointments for weeks. Thus far, around 15,000 members of the campus community have received at least one dose at Tech’s Exhibition Hall, and almost 6,000 have received two doses. (Read why some of them got the vaccine.) Georgia Tech is distributing the Pfizer vaccine, which is a two-dose vaccine.
For those who may have been waiting for others to go first, on the fence about vaccination, or not wanting to hunt for an appointment, now is the time to sign up. Appointments are open nearly every day in April and can be booked at mytest.gatech.edu. Vaccination is free and the process takes about 20 to 30 minutes, including a 15-minute monitoring period after vaccination. (Watch a video of the vaccination process at Georgia Tech.)
Chen Zhou, associate chair for Undergraduate Studies and associate professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, was one person who thought “waiting his turn,” even though he was eligible, was the right thing to do. After talking with a colleague, though, he realized his hesitation could be problematic.
“I heard many people were eligible for the vaccine but did not get it. I teach remotely and can avoid encounters with others,” Zhou said. “So, I thought I could help if I let others get it first. However, Pinar Keskinocak and others told me that it is people like me who slow down the process. Therefore, I went to get my shots and recorded the process to urge others to do the same.”
Vaccination opens up the possibility to resume some activities that many people have put on hold for over a year. As of April 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that fully vaccinated people can resume domestic travel and do not need to get tested before or after travel, or self-quarantine after travel. The CDC also advises that they can visit with other fully vaccinated people without masks or physical distancing, and visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe Covid-19 disease without wearing masks or physical distancing.
Still, those who are vaccinated are encouraged to take precautions in public places, such as wearing a mask and physical distancing, and to wear masks, maintain distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households. (View further guidance from the CDC.)
The University System of Georgia (USG) has temporarily reinstated the use of Non-Closure Emergency Leave for eligible employees receiving a Covid-19 vaccination. The policy is effective as of March 31, 2021, andwill expire at the conclusion of the Public Health State of Emergency declared in the Governor’s Executive Order. Learn more about how to use leave when you get your vaccine.
On campus, all members of the community are encouraged to continue to test, mask, and distance, both during and after vaccination.
Those who received a first dose of Pfizer elsewhere can receive a second dose from Georgia Tech, as long as it is scheduled for at least 21 days after the first dose was administered. In addition, a first dose can be received at Georgia Tech and a second elsewhere, as long as the doses are at least 21 days apart and are both Pfizer vaccines. (Nine things to know about the Covid-19 vaccines.)
Georgia Tech has been working toward the 1,000-person daily capacity since vaccine planning began in earnest in December, when the first vaccines received emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
“Georgia Tech has led throughout this pandemic, whether it be from our amazing surveillance testing efforts to our campaign, Jackets Protect Jackets. I expect our community to lead once again with vaccinations,” said William Smith, director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, who took the vaccine as soon as it was available. “The vaccine is safe, proven, and effective against Covid-19. I certainly encourage anyone who is hesitant to ask others about their experience and ask experts about the vaccine.” (Read more about Smith, who has helped lead the campus vaccination effort.)
Last revised April 20, 2021