University vaccinates 650 in four days

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 27, 2021

In just one week, Longwood University has successfully vaccinated more than 650 faculty and staff.

The efforts are the result of a four-day clinic conducted over the course of the last week, run by nursing faculty in conjunction with the University Health Center and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

According to officials, Longwood was approached two weeks ago by VDH regarding using the university’s refrigeration technology and nurses in order to quickly administer shots to as many Longwood community members as possible.

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In a statement distributed to the campus community Thursday, Jan. 21, Longwood Assistant Vice President of Communications Matt McWilliams announced the school would be on track by the end of the day Friday, Jan. 22, to have successfully vaccinated more than 650 faculty, staff, essential front-line university workers and a handful of nursing students.

“This significantly increases the number of vaccinated adults in Prince Edward County and provides a model for continued work with the VDH to serve our community,” McWilliams said in the email.

Officials previously said the clinic was largely being viewed as a “proof-of-concept,” acting as a dry run for larger community efforts of vaccine rollout.

On Thursday, McWilliams said the university was quickly working to implement its planned next steps in order to kickstart this process.

“In short, we have put ourselves at the service of VDH to direct us how Longwood’s resources, expertise, facilities and people can be most helpfully deployed in support of the overall community effort they are leading,” he wrote.

McWilliams on Thursday said university officials expected shortly to receive a VDH assignment of certain priority groups of essential workers they can help vaccinate.

“This also supports the overall effort by freeing up other capacity and resources in the community from VDH, Centra and other providers for broader groups, such as those over 65.”

He highlighted the university hopes as soon as this week to begin helping vaccinate groups such as first responders and other essential personnel under state guidelines.

“In the days and weeks ahead, you may see various community partners take on different roles in this effort,” he added, “but each part is important to the whole.