Georgia Southern begins vaccine distribution for those in GPDH phase 1A+

80 Moderna vaccines now in the arms of some students, faculty and staff

Andy Cole, Editor-in-Chief

Thanks to dozens of faculty, staff and student volunteers, 80 members of Georgia Southern’s campus community now have their first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

“It went really well,” says Catherine Gilbert, Ed.D., RN, professor and chair of the school of nursing. “A lot of [those who received the vaccine] are telling us this was a breeze. Everything went well. They didn’t have to wait. People were knowledgeable and helpful… they’re really grateful for the opportunity to come and get vaccinated today.”

Currently, Georgia is in the 1A+ phase of vaccine distribution. That means healthcare workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, adults 65 and older and law enforcement, firefighters and first responders are eligible to receive the vaccine, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

John Lester, vice president for university communications and marketing, told The George-Anne that Friday’s vaccination event was a dry run to prepare for when GS receives additional doses.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to put into place some plans that have been developed by our medical health director and by an epidemiologist in our college of public health,” Lester said. “All we’re waiting for is vaccines… we’re showing today we can ramp [the vaccine distribution] up on a larger scale.”

While the vaccine won’t be required for the campus community, Brian DeLoach, M.D., GS’ medical director, said getting the vaccine is a big step in conquering COVID-19.

“The importance with the vaccine is that’s one of the primary mechanisms we now have to slow and, hopefully, eventually, stop the pandemic,” said DeLoach. “We want to, eventually, reach a level where enough people in the community are immune so that those community transmission numbers go down significantly.”

“We encourage everyone who elects to get the vaccine to get it at any opportunity that they have to get it,” DeLoach added.

Those vaccinated Friday will have to return in a month to receive their second dose. It is currently unclear when Georgia will transition to the next phase in vaccine rollout.