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UNT opens COVID-19 vaccine registration, approved as provider of vaccine

Article Originally Published by Cristóbal Soto on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Cristóbal Soto on North Texas Daily

The university’s COVID-19 vaccine registration site opened Monday morning to begin preparing to administer the vaccine to 500 people, President Neal Smatresk said in an official notice.

Steve Maruszewski, UNT System Vice Chancellor for Strategic Infrastructure, said UNT was approved to be a provider for the COVID-19 vaccine at the Board of Regents meeting Thursday morning.

The university submitted an application to the Texas Department of State Health for its first order of 500 single-dose vials. Vaccines will be administered to recipients at the Student Health and Wellness Center shortly after they are delivered, Senior Communications Strategist Amy Strong said in an email to the North Texas Daily.

Smatresk said in the notice the university does not yet know how many vaccines it will receive. The university will follow state regulations in administering the vaccines to individuals eligible under the Texas Department of State Health Services’ phased approach.

Smatresk said the university hopes to have most employees, faculty and staff inoculated by the end of the spring semester.

There is currently no anticipation students will receive these vaccinations, Smatresk said. Students and hall residents are encouraged to get tested twice a month and once a week respectively. The university has relaxed some COVID-19 restrictions this semester for students and simultaneously increased 0n-campus testing availability.

“So, we’re looking right now at trying to have a very active testing profile to manage the current situation,” Smatresk said during Thursday’s meeting. “Right now, I’d say things are looking pretty darn good. But you never know how it goes with these two variants so we’ll continue to be vigilant.”

The university’s approval is an expansion of its role in Denton County’s effort to vaccinate the population. Denton County Public Health hosted its first vaccination clinics in January at Discovery Park where around 800 vaccinations were administered to the public.

Denton County is prioritizing health-care professionals, persons aged 65+ and 16+ with at least one chronic medical condition, according to DCPH website.

So far around 35,000 Denton County residents have been vaccinated with at least one dose, and an additional 11,000 have been fully vaccinated, according to the latest data from Texas Health and Human Services.

The approval followed a day after the first reported case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 in Denton County.

“As we continue to plan for a potential surge associated with variants in an uncertain vaccination schedule, each institution has established processes to address any eventuality and is prepared to pivot and respond to any emerging challenges,” Maruszewski said.

Featured Image: The Hurley Administration Building stands at the end of the library mall on Sept. 28, 2020. Image by John Anderson

Source: North Texas Daily

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