Tulane to begin vaccine rollout next week

Cullen Fagan, Senior Staff Reporter

Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano/ Tulane University

Tulane is set to receive 5,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine early next week, after which they will begin to administer the vaccine to Tulane community members. They will receive more doses towards the end of the month. 

Tulane was selected by the state of Louisiana as a vaccine provider, a role that President Mike Fitts said the university was “honored” to be given. He implied that Tulane’s role as the largest private employer in New Orleans was part of the reason it was chosen, and also said that the university was committed to quickly administering vaccines to “the Tulane community and beyond” as they received more doses. 

Due to a limited supply of vaccinations, specific groups will be prioritized for the first round of vaccine administration. In the first round starting next week, priority will be given to employees of the university over 70; Campus Health staff who deal directly with infected students and close contacts; the university’s food service and custodial staff; and staff, faculty and students from the School of Medicine, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and School of Social Work, who deal directly with members of the New Orleans community. 

Those eligible for the vaccine will receive an email to schedule an appointment. The vaccine has shown to be 95% effective in preventing a COVID-19 infection. However, it is not effective until at least one week after the second of two doses, administered three weeks apart, and it is still unknown whether the vaccinated can still spread the disease. In light of this information, Tulane has encouraged all community members to continue pandemic safety protocols. The administration recently announced new COVID-19 policies for the spring semester, but haven’t released any information about students outside of the schools mentioned in the first roll out receiving the vaccine. 

Yesterday, New Orleans reentered “Modified Phase One” COVID-19 restrictions, after the positivity rate in Orleans Parish reached 10.4% this past week, almost double that of the week before, and Louisiana reached a record high of statewide cases and hospitalizations. Last month, residents of assisted living facilities, frontline healthcare workers, and emergency responders began to receive the vaccine.