On Dec. 18, 2020, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) administered its first COVID-19 vaccine to an EMS worker at Grand Valley State University’s Holland campus. The vaccination process for COVID-19 has been long anticipated because it is essential to combat the spread of the disease as well as protecting the community.
OCDPH has received over 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which was the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by the FDA for emergency usage. OCDPH is currently partnering with GVSU to use the Holland campus location as the first site for administering the vaccine to community members and essential workers.
Jean Nagelkerk, vice provost for health said, “The Ottawa County Health Department (OCHD) needed a location to administer vaccines to frontline workers. With the close working relationship between OCHD and GVSU, we were happy to provide the space to support the overall vaccination effort. Continued use of the Holland Campus for vaccinations administered by OCHD beyond those for frontline workers will need to be determined. GVSU is ready to continue to provide the space support to the overall vaccination effort.”
The Virus Action Team is working closely with the OCHD to determine when and where they will be able to provide the vaccine to students, faculty, and staff. GVSU will continue to encourage daily online-self assessment forms, which will now have an option to indicate whether or not individuals have received their first dose of the vaccination.
“Vaccinations will be offered by county health departments and health care organizations according to the state’s prioritization schedule and the availability of vaccines,” said Vice President for Finance and Administration Greg Sanial. “GVSU will continue to work closely with our county health departments and health care organizations to share information with eligible groups to sign up for vaccine appointments as we work through the state prioritization groupings.”
As of mid-January, GVSU has not received any dosages of the vaccine. When the vaccine becomes available for the campus community, details will be shared with individuals through email, as well as the Lakers Together webpage. GVSU students should anticipate the vaccine being available to them through the university in late spring or early summer of 2021, with the hope that every detail goes according to plan.
“Vaccines will not be required for students,” Nagelkerk said. “Vaccinations for healthy students, as part of the lowest priority group, aren’t likely until late in the Winter semester. Students are encouraged to receive COVID-19 vaccinations during their priority group designation, but are not required to do so.”
For ongoing updates of GVSU’s vaccination plan and program, students and employees can visit the Lakers Together Vaccine Information page on the university website for new information.