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COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution: What You Need to Know

The rollout of vaccines promises a brighter future and an end to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s also a historic effort unprecedented in its scope and complexity.

Vaccine distribution is managed by each state, and in Tennessee, the state’s plan is coordinated by the Tennessee Department of Health in cooperation with each county health department.

Information for Vanderbilt University Community Members

Vanderbilt University is not a distribution site for the vaccine. At present, we are not eligible to become a distribution site because we are not a health care organization.

Currently, it is unclear under Tennessee’s plan whether we will be able to distribute the vaccine directly to our community at some point in the future. Therefore, we encourage members of the Vanderbilt University community to consult your home county’s guidance for vaccine availability and eligibility in your area.

When you do become eligible to receive the vaccine, we strongly urge you to get it – not just to protect yourself, but to help achieve a broad level of immunity in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19.

As this is an evolving situation, we remain in close communication with public health agencies and Vanderbilt University Medical Center officials about vaccination efforts so we may provide relevant information and updates to the campus community.

Vaccinations at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Following guidelines established by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, VUMC is administering COVID-19 vaccine to members of its workforce, including select School of Medicine and School of Nursing students, all who qualify under 1a1 of TDOH guidelines, along with vaccinating approved patient groups who also qualify under TDOH guidelines.

Under 1b of TDOH guidelines VUMC will also begin vaccinations for Pre-K-12 Metro Nashville Public Schools teachers and staff in partnership with the city of Nashville. 

Information for Vaccinated Individuals

As the rollout of vaccines continues, we will likely see more members of the Vanderbilt University community become vaccinated through differing state, county and city eligibility phases around the country.

While the vaccine provides a measure of protection, including reducing the symptoms and severity of illness, for those vaccinated, questions remain about whether vaccinated individuals can still spread the virus.

Therefore, all members of the Vanderbilt community, including those who have been vaccinated, must continue to follow the university’s COVID-19 safety protocols, including physical distancing and wearing a mask. Also, those currently participating in the university’s COVID-19 testing program must continue to do so after vaccination.

The Path Forward

We will continue to adapt our response to the current, dynamic reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As 2021 progresses, we will continue to see the rollout of additional vaccines. This is an unprecedented achievement in the history of medicine, and is one in which scientists and clinicians at Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center played leading roles, underscoring the power of our collaborative culture, our relentless pursuit of innovation and our mission to be of service to the community and society at large.

We should all be proud that Vanderbilt has contributed to finding a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel.

At the same time, we must all be patient as priority populations, including the most vulnerable among us, receive the vaccine.

Be assured we will provide relevant updates to the Vanderbilt University community as developments occur.

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If you have additional questions, please contact us.