We have good news to share related to COVID-19 vaccines and how higher education is prioritized in the state’s vaccine plans.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has updated its guidance for higher education. Local public health authorities may now determine that it is appropriate to include university faculty and staff in the current phase of vaccine distribution if those workers are providing critical services in close contact with a large number of individuals and are not able to work remotely.
We’ve been working closely with local public health partners throughout this process and are analyzing this new guidance in collaboration with them. Together, we will determine where our employees fit into county prioritization plans and how available vaccine would be distributed to them. Administration of the vaccine may vary by county based on how local public health authorities interpret this guidance. This means vaccine distribution could look different for our different campuses.
We are beginning the process to identify KU employees that fit the new KDHE guidance and will share more information as it is available.
Even with this updated guidance, members of the KU community should continue to pursue vaccines as recommended through their own county health authorities and community pharmacies. Those who live in Douglas County and are interested in receiving COVID-19 vaccines should fill out the county’s vaccine interest form, and should use their KU email address when doing so. Residents may check to see if they have correctly filled out the form at dgcoks.org/vaccineinterestformsearch.
The biggest limitation to vaccine distribution remains the available supply of vaccine dependent upon the federal government’s distribution to the state. We are not expecting any significant changes to vaccine availability in the near future, but this updated guidance from state health officials is an encouraging step.
As you know, we have been advocating for our employees to receive vaccine priority with policymakers in Topeka and local health officials since this process began. We are pleased that this new guidance is a step toward including more university employees in earlier priority groups, and we’ll continue our advocacy efforts to include as many of our employees in future vaccination efforts as soon as possible.