Dear Members of the Salem State University Community,
As previously communicated, Salem State University has been receiving shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) for distribution to Salem State faculty, staff, and students following the phased distribution rollout schedule outlined by the DPH Vaccine Distribution Plan. The Moderna vaccine requires a booster shot 28 days after the first inoculation. We expect to be able to give out both doses of the vaccine. This is a new endeavor for our campus, and we are grateful to our Counseling and Health Services staff (CHS) who, in partnership with Human Resources and the School of Nursing, are leading this vaccination effort.
In addition to our campus vaccination effort, we have partnered with the Salem Board of Health to begin offering community vaccination clinics for residents of Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Salem, and Swampscott beginning this Thursday, January 27. The community vaccination clinics will be held at the Harrington Gym on South Campus and will be available to residents of these communities who quality per the phased DPH Vaccine Distribution Plan. Details regarding how external community members can schedule an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the community vaccine clinic can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.
Please note that the community vaccination clinics on South Campus are for external members of the community and are separate from our Salem State campus vaccination clinics.
Our Salem State campus vaccination clinics are held at the O’Keefe Center and are for current Salem State students and staff only, as scheduled through CHS and Human Resources.
In the near future we also hope to partner with North Shore Medical Center to assist with a larger vaccination hub for the North Shore. We will keep you posted as details become available.
On January 5 we began distributing the vaccine on a voluntary basis to SSU community members—faculty, staff, and students—who qualify as part of phase 1 per the DPH Vaccine Distribution Plan. Phase 1 includes in-person health care workers, COVID facing workers, first responders, those working in long term care facilities or congregate settings, and home-based health care workers. We have reached out to Salem State students and employees who we believe qualify for vaccination under Phase 1. To date we have administered 140 doses of the vaccine.
To make a determination about your eligibility, please review the Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccination attestation form. This will be updated as we advance through the phases. Once you are eligible, please complete this form and retain a copy for your own records, as we may ask you to share this documentation as proof of your eligibility. At this time any employee who believes they qualify under phase 1 and has not yet received the vaccine should notify Ezekiel Holt or Rebekah Boudreau in Human Resources. Students who believe that they qualify under phase 1 should reach out to CHS by sending a message on the health portal. Those who qualify will get scheduled for an upcoming vaccination clinic, as vaccine quantity allows.
We expect to be able to provide the vaccine to Salem State community members who qualify under phase 2 of the state’s vaccination plan beginning early next month. Under phase 2 we will prioritize the following classifications of employees working on campus who are at an increased risk for experiencing more severe COVID-19 symptoms (in order of priority):
- Individuals aged 75+
- Individuals aged 65+
- Individuals with 2 or more comorbidities
- Essential employees that have been working in person in early education and K-12, food or restaurant industry, sanitation, transportation, and other related fields.*
- Individuals with 1 comorbidity
Human Resources has already identified individuals who qualify under phase 2 due to age. If you are a member of faculty or staff and believe that you qualify under phase 2 for reasons other than age, please notify Ezekiel Holt or Rebekah Boudreau in Human Resources for guidance. Students who believe that they qualify under phase 2 should reach out to CHS by sending a message on the health portal. Those who qualify will be scheduled for an upcoming vaccination clinic.
*Higher education employees are not identified as essential employees by the Department of Public Health unless they are teaching or observing in early education and K-12 settings. There are currently lobbying efforts underway to advocate that all in person higher education employees be considered as part of phase 2. We will update you if this changes.
Individuals who have not previously qualified for vaccine access in the previous phases will have access during phase 3. We anticipate phase 3 distribution to begin in April.
Please be aware that we are reliant on MA DPH for supply and we are not always able to predict how much supply we will have access to each week. It is also possible that the timeline for distribution will change. We will keep the campus community updated as best we can.
At this time vaccination is voluntary. However, we highly encourage our community members to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible, to protect yourself, your coworkers, your family and friends, students, and our community. Vaccination is a vital step toward ending the pandemic.
Please remember that as vaccinations occur, all of us – including those vaccinated – must continue to keep our campus community safe by adhering to public safety protocols. The past 10 months have brought trying times, and we are proud to begin the new year by being part of the solution and hope that the COVID-19 vaccine brings.
Thank you for your ongoing support and collaboration.
Elisa Castillo, PhD
Associate Dean of Students for Wellness
Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Risk Management