More than 100 University of Wyoming employees have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in recent days, and plans are in the works to make the vaccine available to other members of the UW community.
UW Police Department (UWPD) Sgt. Chad Bade was among those getting the shot this morning (Friday) at the university’s newly acquired Mountain View Medical Park building. Bade is one of about 350 employees who qualify for vaccination under the first phase of Wyoming Department of Health priorities.
“I feel like it is the least I can to do help get back to normal,” Bade says of his decision to be vaccinated. “As first responders, we come into contact with the public on a regular basis, and we don’t always know if someone has the virus or not. So, by having the vaccine, it is another level of protection — not only for me, but also for my family and loved ones.”
In addition to UWPD employees, those who are part of Phase 1a of vaccine administration in Albany County include Student Health Service employees; those involved in UW’s COVID-19 testing program; clinical providers in the College of Health Sciences; Student Affairs and UW Operations employees who work with students in quarantine and isolation; and athletics trainers. Eventually, COVID-19 vaccinations are expected to be available to all employees and students, in accordance with priorities established by the state Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
UW is working with Ivinson Memorial Hospital and Albany County Public Health on a comprehensive plan for vaccine administration for UW and all residents of Albany County. After those in Phase 1a are given the opportunity to receive the vaccine — those vaccinations are scheduled to continue next week — the process will move to Phase 1b, which has yet to be finalized. The university continues to advocate for UW educators teaching face to face to be included in Phase 1b.
While the state has not yet released specifics on who may qualify during Phase 1c — such as certain high-risk individuals — UW’s Department of Human Resources is working on an online platform for employees to notify the university that they are at high risk and desire to receive the vaccine when it becomes available.
Bade encourages fellow UW employees to get in line at the appropriate time.
“Some people are more vulnerable than others when it comes to COVID-19,” he says. “Sometimes we just need to do the right thing, not necessarily for personal reasons but for the greater good. We all need to take care of each other, and this is one way to show you care.”
Upcoming vaccination clinics are likely to follow the process being used now, with candidates for the vaccine — as identified by the university or through the information they submit to Human Resources — each receiving an email directing them to complete a consent form and schedule their vaccinations online.
“The scheduling process was very easy and straightforward,” Bade says. “I filled out the consent form and emailed it to Albany County Public Health. After that, I used the link in the email to schedule my appointment, which was very similar to setting up appointments for the Vault testing we did throughout the fall semester. It was super quick and super easy.”
Questions about UW’s COVID-19 vaccination plans should be emailed to COVIDVX@uwyo.edu. A UW vaccine webpage has been established at www.uwyo.edu/campus-return/vaccination, and it will be updated as information becomes available.