COVID-19 Vaccine and UND


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Kylee Danks, News Writer

COVID-19 vaccine rollout began in December for North Dakota, part of Phase 1A, the vaccine prioritization established by the North Dakota Department of Health. This initial vaccination process included health care workers in direct contact with COVID-19, first responders, and long-term care residents and staff. Since health care workers in training fall into this group, University of North Dakota medical and nursing students have been eligible. Phase 1A eligible recipients at UND received an email from UND Student Health on Jan. 6 with a survey asking to indicate their interest in receiving the vaccine. UND is continuing to work with the City of Grand Forks on COVID-19 vaccinations. The City of Grand Forks, the Grand Forks Public Health Department, and Altru Health System have partnered together and currently vaccinating Phase 1B Tier 1. There are three sections of Phase 1 vaccine distribution established by the North Dakota Department of Health, each with individual tiers focused on older individuals, those who have underlying health conditions, people in congregate settings, and essential workers. 


According to the CDC, the COVID-19 vaccine will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic. Research done with previous vaccines for other diseases has led experts to believe that getting the vaccine may also help keep recipients from getting seriously ill even if they do get COVID-19. However, UND’s website states that faculty, staff, and students are not currently required to get a COVID-19 vaccination, even those eligible in the initial priority group unless their employer’s policy states otherwise. While Phase 1B has a wider scope, it’s still not likely to include UND Students, many of whom are younger and at a lower risk of severe illness, unless they belong to one of the tier groups. UND’s COVID-19 blog post on Jan. 4 mentions that members of the next phases have been identified and will be offered the vaccine as more doses become available. UND Students who have not yet been vaccinated or are not eligible for Phase 1A, 1B, or 1C are most likely to be vaccinated in Phase 2, with the general public. It may take several weeks to vaccinate the current Phase 1B tier, people 75 and older. In addition, it is unknown when or how many doses of the vaccine will be available to UND as supplies are limited. Since the situation is fluid there is not a set answer for when the vaccine will be available for everyone at UND. 


UND is currently in Safety Level two of the threeHealthy Hawks Safety Levels. These levels serve as a general guideline for what the UND community can expect and do to stay safe as COVID-19 cases rise and fall. It is anticipated that UND will stay at Safety Level two until the vaccine is more widely available to the general public. This level requires hybrid schedules, social distancing, face coverings, hand sanitation, frequent surface cleaning, and anyone with symptoms staying home. It is also recommended that students, faculty, and staff get tested regularly for the virus. The next rapid testing event will be held on Monday, Jan. 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Ryan Hall and Wilkerson on the UND campus. The next Standard PCR testing event will be held Tuesday, Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the High-Performance Center. Additional UND testing events are being held from Tuesday to Friday. and can be found here. 


Kylee Danks is a Dakota Student News Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]