University encourages vaccination tracking, suggests future update in campus protocol

Vaccine information will be used “when evaluating potential changes to campus health and safety protocols,” per an email from Assistant Provost G.L. Black.


Hallie Williams

Managing more than 2 million patient visits each year, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is one of the largest academic medical centers in the Southeast, according to its website. (Hustler Multimedia/Hallie Williams)

Madeline King, Staff Writer

G.L. Black, assistant provost and deputy dean of students, urged students to take advantage of opportunities to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in an April 22 email to undergraduate, graduate and professional students.

The email comes after repeated email correspondence to students, encouraging eligible individuals to schedule vaccination appointments. As recent state expansions in vaccine eligibility allow for all Tennesseans above age 16 to receive a vaccine, many Vanderbilt students have been vaccinated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and nearby venues, including Music City Center and Walgreens.

Before VUMC began vaccinating students on April 13, many students received their doses through the latter method.

“I went to the Music City Center to get the Pfizer vaccine,” first-year Jason Burke said. “The experience was very straightforward and very easy.”

Students can now schedule their second dose through VUMC even if they received their first dose at another venue. However, to do so, a student’s first dose must be the Pfizer vaccine, as this is the brand that VUMC administers. First-year Avery Fortier received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Walgreens and her second dose at VUMC. 

“There were a lot of people getting vaccinated at once,” Fortier said. 

In the April 22 email, Black iterated the importance of students to upload their vaccination records to the university’s vaccine tracker so that the university can gain an understanding of the campus’s vaccination status and determine changes to campus guidelines.

“This information, in conjunction with CDC recommendations and public health guidance from VUMC and Metro Health, will be used when evaluating potential changes to campus health and safety protocols,” Black said in the email.

As of publication, vaccinated students are required to continue with biweekly asymptomatic testing. However, these individuals are not subject to quarantine via contact tracing beginning two weeks after their second vaccination. Vaccinated students will only be exempted from quarantine if they submit their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center.

For 2021 graduates, the last day to receive the first dose of the vaccine at VUMC is April 24. The last day for non-graduating students to schedule their vaccine was April 20. The university encourages those unable to stay on campus long enough to receive both doses to find other vaccination clinics at the location they will be this summer.

“The university is working to determine the number of faculty, staff and students who have received a COVID-19 vaccine so we can create a plan for a safe return to campus for the fall 2021 semester,” Black said in the email.