Northwestern community vaccination update
Dear members of the Northwestern community,
Effective Monday, April 12, everyone age 16 and older who lives or works in Evanston or nearby suburbs will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. For those in Chicago, it appears the City of Chicago will make individuals 16 and older eligible on Monday, April 19.
As a reminder, because vaccine supply remains limited, eligibility does not guarantee a vaccine will be immediately available. However, based on information from public health officials, we anticipate that supply will increase over the next four to six weeks. Regardless of vaccination status, everyone must continue following public health guidelines, including wearing masks and social distancing.
State of Illinois vaccination approach
The state continues to follow a mass-vaccination strategy, where most vaccines are allocated to large public sites or through health care systems. Northwestern University is not receiving a direct vaccine supply from the state at this time.
We understand that this approach is different from other states; however, each state is accountable for its allocation scheme. This week, the Chicago Tribune published a helpful overview of the current situation.
Disclose your COVID-19 vaccination status
As a reminder, any student, faculty, staff or student who becomes fully vaccinated through a location other than Northwestern University is strongly encouraged to disclose to the University (1) the type of vaccine received (e.g. Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson) and (2) the date(s) of vaccination. Students, faculty and staff can complete their disclosures here.
These disclosures are entirely voluntary but are extremely helpful in gauging how many community members have received the vaccine so far, and how many still need it. By providing this information, you can help enable us to share more information with public health agencies and advocate for more vaccine supplies for our community.
Northwestern onsite vaccination clinic
The University does receive a very limited number of vaccine doses from the Evanston Health and Human Services Department (EHHS), which has been extremely supportive of Northwestern despite its own limited vaccine supply. Most weeks, Northwestern receives roughly 200 to 300 first doses of vaccine.
As students become eligible starting next week, we will open the onsite clinic to them as well. Following guidance from EHHS, we have prioritized access to the vaccine based primarily on age, inviting most faculty and staff over the age of 45.
For now, we expect to continue inviting individuals — faculty, staff and students — directly, rather than posting appointments on a first-come, first-served basis.
It is our strong desire to offer vaccinations to all students before the end of the Spring Term. However, our ability to do that will be dependent on whether we receive the necessary supply from the state. Currently, we do not have enough supply to make such a commitment.
New City of Evanston vaccination site
Northwestern has entered into an agreement to allow the City of Evanston to use Blomquist Gymnasium as its community mass vaccination site. The City plans to start using the site this week for a pilot event.
This site will be available to Northwestern community members, which will be a convenient option for members of our community on the Evanston campus. The City provided an update on Thursday, advising that it will continue inviting residents to register for open appointments by age. If you have not yet done so, we urge you complete the Vaccine Contact Form so you can be notified when you might have access. You should also consider registering for general notifications and updates from the City.
If you are a Northwestern Medicine patient
Northwestern Medicine (NM) has been inviting patients who have certain medical conditions to make vaccine appointments. Starting next week, NM expects to begin inviting more patients to make vaccine appointments, consistent with public health guidelines.
Faculty, staff and students who are patients of NM should monitor their MyNM accounts and watch for invitations on a regular basis.
Other ways to get vaccinated
As previously shared, there are other ways to be vaccinated as well:
- The State of Illinois website and the Northwestern website provide information about a number of vaccination locations.
- Cook County mass vaccination sites are available for most Northwestern community members. Sign up here to register for vaccine appointments at these sites.
- The City of Chicago has partnered with Zocdoc to facilitate access to the vaccine. You can visit the Zocdoc website to determine whether you qualify for the vaccine and identify locations with open vaccine appointments.
- Most healthcare providers are offering vaccine appointments to their patients. Ask your provider if they have any open appointments.
- If you are still having trouble, the state has launched a multilingual, toll-free Vaccine Appointment Call Center at 833-621-1284.
Access to second doses only
Many students received a first dose of vaccine while at home during Spring Break, and many faculty and staff have traveled across the state to find access to the vaccine. We completely understand that it would be preferable to receive a second dose onsite at Northwestern.
Unfortunately, we are currently unable to offer this option. We are only allocated first doses from EHHS, as well as the follow-up second dose, and we are required to administer these to individuals who have not been vaccinated previously.
Therefore, everyone should plan to receive a second dose at the same location that administered the first dose. In certain circumstances, EHHS may be able to accommodate a second dose request for students who obtained their first dose while out of state. If you are in that category, contact Northwestern Health Service at 847-491-2204, and they will send your information to EHHS.
Vaccination requirements for 2021-2022
Northwestern has not made a decision on whether a COVID-19 vaccination will be required for students, faculty or staff in the Fall. We will, however, communicate more details about this topic in the coming weeks as we navigate the next stages of the state’s vaccination plan.
If you have questions about Northwestern’s vaccine response, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Response times may be delayed based on the volume of inquiries.
Thank you again for everything you are doing to keep yourself and our community safe.
Vice President for Operations