Florida State University began administering the first round of COVID-19 vaccines to faculty, staff and students age 65 and older Wednesday in its continued efforts to mitigate the virus.
Through a partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Leon County, FSU is now offering the vaccination to the university’s 65 and older population. The partnership enables the county to expand its distribution and allows more community members to receive access to the vaccine sooner.
“This is another important step in our efforts to promote a healthier and safer campus,” said President John Thrasher. “I’m so proud of our health care professionals and the incredible work they have done in the face of this pandemic. We’ve tested thousands of individuals, opened our own testing lab and now we’ve added a vaccination program. Our entire medical team is doing an outstanding job of battling COVID-19.”
The university also has received a supply of vaccine doses from Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and Capital Regional Medical Center for health care workers.
“This is a true example of what can come together through collaborative partnerships between organizations within the FSU community and our community partners,” said Dr. James C. Zedaker, who is leading the university’s testing and vaccination programs.
This week, University Health Services is scheduled to vaccinate 200 individuals, a group that includes FSU’s 65 and older population and frontline health care workers. Last week, UHS vaccinated 100 university-affiliated health care workers.
“We’re all in this together, so we’re thrilled to partner with the county in this endeavor,” said Ryen Pagel, associate director for Clinical Operations at University Health Services. “Offering this service to eligible members of our community will assist the university in mitigating the spread of the virus as it continues to repopulate campus.”
Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 19, the university will move its vaccination site to the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. Next week, FSU will schedule 100 vaccination appointments each morning with plans of ramping up to a target goal of 400 per day. The Civic Center will continue to host the university’s COVID-19 testing efforts in the afternoons.
This week’s appointments were booked within an hour of eligible individuals receiving notification of the opportunity.
Neil Charness, the William G. Chase Professor of Psychology and director of the Institute for Successful Longevity, was excited to secure one of the first vaccination appointments Wednesday.
“I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, finally,” Charness said. “If you get the chance to be vaccinated, please do it. If you’re fortunate enough to be at Florida State University and you have an opportunity to get it here, it’s a great system we have. I think this step of vaccine development, and now vaccine distribution, is going to make an enormous change in the lives of seniors like myself and enable us to get back and involved in the community much, much sooner perhaps than other people.”
Eligible faculty, staff and students will receive individual notification of future appointment availability.