Dear Fontbonne Community,
As you may have seen in the news, states are now beginning to receive more vaccines from the federal government and they, in turn, are delivering more vaccines to county health departments and other local vaccine providers. This is great news but unfortunately, the process is slow-moving and it will take some time before the vaccine is widely available to the general public. For now, in addition to health care providers and long-term care facility residents, the vaccine is becoming available to specific groups of the public per guidelines set by the CDC and the various state governments.
While Fontbonne would love to be able to provide the vaccine to its community members here on campus, unfortunately, we are not able to be a vaccine provider due to the infrastructure needed for such an undertaking. We are exploring the possibility of partnering with a registered provider, but this may not be possible and there are other providers open to the public that may be a better option for you. Higher Education employees, in general, are not eligible to receive the vaccination until a later phase of the distribution process, and students, in general, will not be eligible until the general public phase has begun. You personally, though, may be eligible earlier in the process if you also belong to a group designated as a higher priority in the process, such as first responders or high-risk individuals. The CDC and the St. Louis County Health Department recommends that people receive the vaccine as soon as they can and within the highest priority group for which they may be eligible.
States and other vaccine providers have some discretion on how they are setting up distribution of the vaccine within the eligible groups, so it requires everyone to do some exploration of when you may be eligible and how to acquire the vaccine. Instead of repeating that information in this letter, I will refer you to a couple of websites that delineate the process. I would encourage you to visit the state of Missouri’s “Stronger Together” website to educate yourself on the process being followed, to understand when you might be eligible to receive the vaccine, and to know where the vaccine may be available to you. Illinois has a similar site that residents of that state should consult, which can be viewed here.
The St. Louis County Department of Public Health is also registering people to receive the vaccine or be notified when that will be possible. Information on vaccine distribution and how to register in the county can be found here. You do not need to be a resident of the county to register. There are various providers that are following a similar process. An article in the St. Louis Magazine did a nice job of explaining who is eligible and how to go about exploring providers for the vaccine. This article can be found here. The article begins with a listing of vaccine registration links for area hospitals that may be options for you. CVS and Walgreens will also be providers but they have yet to start their registration process. You, of course, may also want to check with your private care physician or other pharmacies.
As you can see, this process, for now, requires individuals to think about their place in the prioritization plan described by the state, and then to check with various providers to see if you might acquire the vaccine from them or at least be notified when that is a possibility. I would encourage everyone to explore various options and to register for notification with a variety of providers, with the goal of ultimately securing just one appointment for you to actually receive the vaccine.
Hopefully, as more vaccines and providers become available, there will be ample opportunities to receive the vaccine. Until that point, we need to stay vigilant to the mitigation procedures that we have practiced on campus since the pandemic began. Even if you have been vaccinated, everyone must continue to follow these mitigation procedures for the indefinite future. I thank you for your patience and dedication to these efforts. I will continue to update the community via email or the Fontbonne website as more information becomes available.
Vice President for Student Affairs