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Emergency department physician Kimberly Tomlinson receives the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. Six Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center healthcare workers were among the first people in Athens to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; taylormckenziephotography.com)

Last week, faculty and students filled out a survey regarding whether they would like the COVID-19 vaccination. The majority of the respondents — 77% — indicated that they want to receive the vaccine from the University Health Center, while another 6% reported that they have already been vaccinated or plan to be vaccinated elsewhere. 

This strong interest in receiving the vaccine is very encouraging, according to a Monday ArchNews email from UGA President Jere Morehead, Provost Jack Hu and the Medical Oversight Task Force.

The university stated that the surveys completed last week are helping to inform the decision-making of the Medical Oversight Task Force for the following information: age, the existence of comorbidities and level of exposure in job functions.

UGA has administered up to 1,500 vaccinations to members of the campus community in accordance with the phased approach suggested by the Georgia Department of Public Health and Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. 

The university stated that it has not been able to move past the guidelines specified by a phased approach provided by the GDPH and CDC. According to the email, UGA has been receiving small shipments of vaccinations and expects this low volume to continue for the next several weeks. 

Each week, a random weighted sample of individuals in the designated groups will be invited to vaccinate, based on the estimated number of vaccines available for the next week. This process will continue according to the volume of vaccines received. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require the completion of a second dose, which the university has stated to keep in mind for scheduling. 

The university stated that the University Health Center is expected to reach out to people in the UGA community when it is their time to get vaccinated, reassuring that no vaccination will be wasted and no leave will be needed to be taken as per UGA Human Resources.

UGA asked students and faculty for their patience and understanding as they continue with the phased approach initially planned. In the meantime, the university continues to encourage hand washing, mask wearing, maintaining social distance and avoiding large crowds whether you are vaccinated or not, as well as taking advantage of the surveillance testing at Legion Field and in pop-up locations across campus.