GW Leaders Encourage Patience as National Vaccine Rollout Continues

Students, faculty and staff should continue monitoring local guidelines to ensure they receive the vaccine when it is available to them.

Man receives COVID-19 vaccine.
The university strongly encourages members of the GW community, in consultation with your health care provider, to immediately accept the vaccine as soon as it is offered to you or becomes available to you. (Harrison Jones/ GW Today)
March 29, 2021

Members of the George Washington University community are encouraged to continue monitoring state and local guidelines for information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new groups become eligible to receive the vaccine. 

Residents of Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland and other jurisdictions who have not been vaccinated yet should pre-register for an appointment—if that option is available. The university strongly encourages members of the GW community, in consultation with your health care provider, to immediately accept the vaccine as soon as it is offered to you or becomes available to you.

The federal government is working to ensure equitable access and distribution of the vaccine. States and jurisdictions have prioritized eligibility based on factors including age, preexisting health conditions and occupation to ensure those most at risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms are among the first groups to be vaccinated. Individuals should abide by local health department protocols to ensure communities hardest hit by COVID-19 are able to receive the vaccine. 

“The effort to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine equitably so that at-risk people get protection first will help us curb this virus and keep everyone healthy,” said Lynn R. Goldman, dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health. “We are asking members of the GW community to follow local guidelines and to sign up for the vaccine as soon as they are eligible.”

Faculty and staff who live in Maryland are currently eligible for the vaccine. Faculty and staff who live in Virginia and are part of the on-campus cohort are included in Virginia’s Phase 1c population. This group is now eligible for the vaccine in certain counties. Individuals should refer to the Virginia Department of Health for more information. District of Columbia residents who are considered essential faculty and staff will be eligible for the vaccine during Phase 1c tier three, which has not yet begun. 

If you have received the COVID-19 vaccine, you should still continue following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others, including wearing a mask and washing your hands. Members of the on-campus cohort should keep their vaccine confirmation card and upload it to the medical portal for record keeping. Regardless of vaccination status, on-campus cohort members should continue weekly COVID-19 testing and daily symptom monitoring.

At this time, GW has not been allocated doses of the vaccine for the university community. The vaccine available at GW Hospital and the Medical Faculty Associates is being administered per D.C. Health guidelines only. As supply increases nationwide, more individuals will have access to the vaccine.

“As the vaccine supply ramps up, more and more people will have access to crucial protection from COVID-19, including severe disease,” Dr. Goldman said. “The hope is that over time, the vaccine along with preventive measures such as social distancing will help us end this pandemic.”

Earlier this month President Joe Biden urged states to expand vaccine access to all adults by May 1. Leaders in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland said they expect to meet this goal and expand eligibility in the coming weeks.

Widespread vaccination is key to GW’s plan to provide an in-person experience to the fullest extent possible this fall. 

“Vaccination protects you, those around you—and the larger community,” Dr. Goldman said. “We are all looking forward to getting back to a more normal campus experience and with vaccinations the hope is we may achieve that goal this fall.”

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