Karen Lin, Staff Photographer
The University is launching four student vaccination clinics that have the capacity to vaccinate all students by May 19, the last day of the spring term.
In a Friday email to all students, Chief of Student Health Christine Chen announced that the state and Yale New Haven Health system had allocated a supply of Pfizer vaccines to the Yale COVID-19 Vaccination Program. All students will be able to receive the vaccine at the Lanman Center and can schedule an appointment through MyChart. Connecticut residents 16 and older became eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine on April 1, but for two weeks Yale Health did not receive its own allocation from the state, and students turned to other pharmacies and providers to get their first doses.
“This week marks an important milestone for Connecticut, as more than 50% of Connecticut residents who are eligible for vaccination have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine,” University COVID-19 Coordinator Stephanie Spangler wrote in an email to the Yale community. “It is very encouraging to see such strong numbers.”
The first clinic will be held on April 21, and the subsequent three clinics will take place on April 23, 24 and 28. Each clinic has a corresponding one 21 days later for students to receive the second dose.
As of April 16, nearly 60 percent of students and more than 60 percent of faculty and staff had made vaccine appointments or received their first dose, according to Spangler.
Paul Genecin, chief executive officer of Yale Health, told the News that it is not clear whether the state planned to allocate Pfizer doses to Yale Health all along, or if this decision reflects the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration’s joint recommendation for states to stop administering the Johnson & Johnson shot.
“Until we learned of the state’s plan to give us Pfizer vaccine for students, we did not know which vaccine we would receive, or whether we would be able to get vaccines for students at all in time for the end of the semester,” he wrote in an email.
According to Genecin, because the CDC and FDA recommendation coincided with the Department of Public Health’s announcement that it would allocate Pfizer vaccines to Yale Health, it is unclear whether that had always been the plan, or more so a reflection of the fact that the state could not give Yale Health J&J vaccines.
Genecin had previously told the News that the problem with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines was that both of them required two shots, administered at least three weeks apart. With eligibility schedules still up in the air, it was unclear whether Yale Health would have sufficient time to vaccinate Yale students by the end of the spring term –– an undertaking which would be contingent on receiving sufficient doses to administer in the first place.
“I am glad that we are able to obtain an adequate supply of an mRNA vaccine for students, and that we will have enough time to give both doses,” Genecin wrote.
Chen’s email urged students who had scheduled a vaccine appointment at a far-off location to consider canceling their slot and signing up at the Lanman Center. If students have already received a first dose elsewhere, they should get their second dose at the same site.
This spring, Yale’s Public Health Advisory Committee has been discussing the question of whether to mandate vaccines come fall, according to YNHH Medical Director for Infection Prevention Richard Martinello, Dean of the School of Public Health Sten Vermund and professor emeritus of emergency medicine Sandy Bogucki, all of whom are members of the committee.
Other universities, including Wesleyan University and Brown University, have made the decision to do so. But organizations cannot definitively mandate the vaccine under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization, as the vaccine does not yet have full FDA approval. Wesleyan and Brown have navigated that reality by requiring students to receive a vaccine if they want to live on campus or attend in-person classes.
University President Peter Salovey and Provost Scott Strobel wrote in an email to the Yale community on April 19 that COVID-19 vaccines will be mandated for all Yale students come fall 2021. Chen’s email noted that students should submit their vaccination records to the University via MyChart once they are fully vaccinated “for COVID-19 monitoring across the Yale community.”
Students should bring their Yale ID to the Lanman Center.
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Update, Apr. 19 8:46 p.m.: This story has been updated to include more comments and detail from Genecin on how Yale received the Pfizer supply.