Courtesy of Aliesa Bahri

On March 18, the Yale College Council hosted a vaccine Q&A session to allow members of the Yale community to ask about Yale’s vaccination plans, which COVID-19 Coordinator Spangler said are determined in part by supply provided by the federal government. As a result, students are encouraged to make appointments through systems outside the University when they become eligible.

The webinar, which was moderated by Policy Chair Bayan Galal ’23, featured six university officials: Spangler, Yale Health’s Chief Clinical Operations Officer Nanci Fortgang, Chief Quality Officer of Yale Health and Chair of Yale’s COVID-19 Testing and Tracing Committee Madeline Wilson, Chief Medical Officer of Yale Health Jennifer McCarthy, Director of Wellness and Health Education for Being Well at Yale Lisa Kimmel and Director of Pharmacy of Yale Health Bryan Cretella.

“What we want to help you all do when you become eligible is take advantage of every pathway that there is to get a vaccination,” Spangler said during the webinar. “What we’re doing is not only making sure we can get as much supply at Lanman as possible … but also provide support resources to help you make appointments through the pharmacy system or the other systems in the state of Connecticut.”

On March 15, Gov. Ned Lamont announced that on April 5, individuals aged 16 through 44 will tentatively be able to start scheduling vaccine appointments. Although students will be able to start scheduling vaccine appointments then, the panelists emphasized that Yale currently does not have the supply to meet the expected demand.

The state has recently released guidance to prioritize both socially vulnerable populations and people with preexisting conditions that would put them at high risk for COVID-19. As of now, the University will most likely follow the government’s guidance on vaccine distribution but is still waiting for the state to release the specific steps for prioritizing certain populations, said McCarthy.

However, despite Yale’s limited supply of vaccines, the University is looking to provide as many resources as possible to help students get their vaccinations.

The panel strongly suggested that students should familiarize themselves with the different methods of scheduling a vaccine appointment. MyChart will be the best way for students to schedule their vaccinations with Yale, so it is important for students to be familiar with that system, said Fortgang. The state of CT also has a vaccine portal where students can check their eligibility and find vaccine providers near their zip code.

There were also concerns regarding the insurance plans of students and whether or not students who are still under their parents’ insurance will be able to schedule a vaccine appointment with Yale.

“Regardless of whether you’re on your parents’ insurance or took the Yale Health Insurance, you are eligible for the vaccine through Yale Health,” McCarthy said during the webinar. “If you go to one of the outside sites and you have Yale Health Insurance, you just download the information. If you go to an outside site and you’re on your parent’s insurance, you bring that insurance card with you. But, being a student, if we have adequate supply, you would be able to get it through us.”

This Q&A is just one part of YCC’s initiative to educate students about COVID-19 and health resources and work with the University to provide aid to the Yale community.

Other projects that the YCC Health and COVID-19 Policy Team have worked on since the start of the academic year include securing PPE kits for off-campus students in New Haven and reimbursements for remote students who want to be tested for COVID-19.

“We will continue these efforts in response to the input and feedback we hear from students,” YCC Student Body President Aliesa Bahri ’22 wrote in an email to the News. “We will work towards conveying any confusion students may have to Dr. Spangler so that additional clarity and information can be provided by the University.”

543,501 individuals in Connecticut are now fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.

Kerui Yang | kerui.yang@yale.edu