Students will soon become eligible for COVID-19 vaccination
Ashley Opina ® Staff Writer |
The creation and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine has led many to wonder if and when they will be able to receive it. Students and staff alike at Minnesota State University, Mankato are no different.
Thankfully, the local Public Health Department of Blue Earth County has begun the process of getting the MNSU community their share.
Members within the MNSU Student Health Services, Environmental Health and Safety, and Campus Security are serving as a liaison for the campus in correspondence with the local Public Health Department in order to do so.
Wendy Schuh, the director of Student Health Services at MNSU says, “The vaccine is being managed through local Public Health which is distributed through the state level down to the counties.”
Schuh explains that, “Since our county is Blue Earth County, we are working with them to ensure that our campus population is included in their vaccine distribution plan.”
The plan itself is a bit complicated, with different phases that need to be completed before the general population at MNSU can get the vaccine.
Phase 1A includes frontline essential healthcare workers, phase 1B includes frontline essential non-healthcare workers, and phase 1C includes those with medical conditions that are at a higher risk of getting the virus. Both phase 1B and 1C include the elderly.
“For the most part, our general student and employee population would fall in line for the vaccine after the completion of phase 1,” says Schuh.
Once phase 1 is complete, the local Public Health Department will open its doors to the general public at MNSU that would like to come in and receive the vaccine.
However, Schuh adds that the timeline from the completion of phase 1 to the general public being able to receive the vaccine is still unknown.
“Some of our groups that are included in phase 1 have already been invited to receive the vaccine,” says Schuh. “The process is well on its way.”
Mallory Steinmetz, a sophomore at MNSU studying to become a nurse, is thrilled about the whole thing.
Steinmetz has been working as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Laurels Edge Assisted Living for about five months.
Due to her place of work and position title, Steinmetz has already been able to receive the vaccine through her job.
“I received my first dose on Jan. 13, and I’ll be getting my second dose in a couple of weeks,” says Steinmetz.
Her enthusiasm about receiving the first dose of the vaccine was evident, and she cannot wait for others at MNSU to receive it as well.
“It brings me joy knowing that there may be an end to this pandemic because of the vaccine,” says Steinmetz. “I’m glad it’s going to be available to our campus.”
Steinmetz mentions that she has seen firsthand what the virus can do to people and she believes that the sooner people are protected from it, the better.
“The impact that each person getting the vaccine has on those who are at a higher risk is insane,” says Steinmetz. “It could be the difference between life and death for an older individual or a healthcare worker like myself.”
The vaccine also brings Steinmetz hope that she will be able to see her peers and professors in person again soon.
“Being able to go back to campus and attend in-person classes would be great,” says Steinmetz. “Individuals at MNSU receiving the vaccine is a step in the right direction to getting there.”
Header photo: Ron Tupy receives a vaccination, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Minnesota on Thursday opened up nine locations for coronavirus vaccinations as part of a pilot program reserved for people 65 and over. (Jim Mone/AP Photo)