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WPI's COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DEPARTMENT(S): 
February 4, 2021

This message was sent to the WPI community.

I’m writing to share our latest thinking about COVID-19 vaccines for our faculty, staff, and students—and I’m pleased to share that WPI has been approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be a provider of vaccines to our community. 

You have likely read that the commonwealth has a plan to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in a phased approach, with different people being eligible at different times. The phases were developed by a state-level advisory group using guidance from the CDC. The plan has a strong focus on those most vulnerable to COVID, and on distributing vaccines to communities disproportionately impacted by the virus. (As we have done throughout the pandemic, we are working with colleagues from across the state’s higher education institutions—this time with the purpose of helping to ensure other campuses also have access to vaccines—in alignment with the state’s vaccination plan.) 

WPI is committed to following the state’s guidelines about eligibility as we administer vaccines to people who live, work, or study in Massachusetts:

  • Phase 1 focused on healthcare providers and first responders, and WPI worked with the commonwealth to secure and administer the vaccine to our campus health and safety staff—we are now working on a plan to access vaccines in a timely manner under Phase 2. 
  • Phase 2 includes four groups related to age, medical conditions, certain job categories, and other factors. Per the state’s guidelines, we are planning to administer vaccinations to the small number of community members eligible in Phase 2, Group 1, which includes only those age 75 and over. We have already communicated directly with the individuals who are eligible.

We are now working on a plan to access vaccines in a timely manner under Phase 2, and to obtain an appropriate supply of vaccine for WPI faculty, staff, and students who are eligible in the latter parts of Phase 2—which will be a much larger number of people. Thus the level of complexity of the operation will increase. Specific plans and timing are still in process, and are dependent on the vaccine supply from the state. 

Ultimately, we hope to be able to vaccinate everyone in our community, depending on the amount of vaccine available as we get into later phases of the vaccination campaign. We will keep you informed as we progress through the process of planning to receive doses and provide vaccinations to our community.

Unfortunately we will not be able to vaccinate family members of our employees and students, so it is important that everyone familiarize themselves with the state’s plans and phases, as well as the locations of publicly-available vaccination sites. While we are not currently mandating the vaccine, we strongly recommend that everyone be vaccinated as they become eligible. 

For most of us, the vaccine is still some weeks or even months away. And thus it is absolutely critical that we all continue to abide by our safety protocols—wear a mask, keep your distance, reduce close contacts, etc. 

Please check WeAreWPI for further information about our COVID-19 response. We will communicate promptly as our plans to vaccinate our community develop further. 

Sincerely,
Laurie