Columbia Health emailed tonight that a limited number of students will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021.

The university will begin distributing a limited amount of COVID-19 vaccines in the first quarter of 2021, Columbia Health wrote in an email to students currently registered as their patients.

According to the email, Columbia Health has been working closely with public health officials to plan the distribution of the vaccine on campus, keeping in mind vaccine guidelines already set forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Columbia Health expects shipments of the vaccine to arrive by mid-December, according to a December 7 update posted on the CU Health website. Tonight was the first confirmation students received about the opportunity for vaccination through Columbia Health.

“For Columbia University, the first priority group will be health care workers, i.e., patient-facing individuals,” Columbia stated in a vaccine update previously sent out on December 9. The same statement notes that the university will cover the cost of the vaccine for all faculty, researchers, staff, and students. Columbia claims it will distribute the vaccine in compliance with national and local guidelines and uniformly “across all University campuses, schools, departments, and other units,” without much more specificity. Finally, because the vaccine will be available to very few people, “eligible individuals will be notified directly via email and will be provided with instructions on how to obtain the vaccination.”

Bwog reached out to Columbia Communications with questions and was directed to an FAQ page on Columbia’s COVID-19 website. Crucially, as per the FAQ page, any university-led vaccination of faculty, staff, and/or students—including deciding who will be vaccinated first—will be consistent with state, city, and CDC guidance. Vaccination, while strongly-recommended, is not currently deemed mandatory by the university. Vaccination facilitated by the university will come at no cost to faculty, staff, or students, regardless of insurance status.

Bwog will update this post with comments from CU Health and other necessary parties as we receive them.

The December 16 email from Columbia Health can be found in full below:

Dear Columbia Health Patient,

As the city and state plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution become finalized and supplies are released Columbia Health expects to begin offering a limited number of COVID-19 vaccines to our students in the first quarter of 2021.

Columbia Health is working closely with public health officials to plan vaccine distribution and we will follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine how the doses will be distributed. Initial supplies are limited and are being given to healthcare workers, first responders, and others who are clinically confirmed as most vulnerable to COVID-19.

We will continue to update you with information on vaccine availability as we learn more. We are not scheduling appointments for the vaccine at this time and there is no need to contact us about scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination until further notice. However, if you need to see your clinician for any other reason, we remain available.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine:

Visit the CDC’s FAQ

As well as its page on Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines

Be Well,
Columbia Health

Update December 17 2020 at 1:29 pm: includes response from Columbia Communications.

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