Dear UofSC Graduate Student:
As you know, the Governor and DHEC announced the expansion of access to the COVID-19 vaccine to Phase 1b. That means as of Monday (March 8) the following groups will have access to vaccinations:
- All individuals age 55 and above.
- Teachers, Professors, Instructors, Graduate Assistants and support staff.
- Frontline staff supporting the university's mission – who are defined as individuals
in-person at their place of work, and who perform a job that puts them at increased
risk of exposure due to their frequent, close (less than 6 feet) and ongoing (more
than 15 minutes) contact with others in the work environment.
- All individuals identified in Phase 1a who have not yet received their vaccine.
- Those aged 16-64 with pre-existing conditions as defined by ACIP:
- Cancer (current, not a history of cancer), chronic kidney disease (any stage), chronic lung disease, diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), Down syndrome, heart disease (congestive heart disease, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension), HIV/AIDS, solid organ transplant, obesity (BMI >30), pregnancy, sickle cell disease.
- People who have a developmental or other severe high-risk disability that makes developing severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection more likely.
Many of our graduate students are covered by the criteria listed above and are eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1b. In addition to the pre-existing conditions criteria, if you are a graduate assistant engaged in teaching or research that brings you face to face with other students or if you are a graduate student employed by the University and by virtue of your employment are at increased risk of exposure (see the language in the third bullet), you qualify for Phase 1b.
If you qualify, you may access the vaccine through any community vaccination site
statewide. We encourage you to visit the DHEC COVID vaccine website to make an appointment at a location near you. Additionally, Student Health Services – which
is also receiving a limited number of doses – is able to provide some vaccinations
to the UofSC System community as well. UofSC is currently receiving approximately
200 doses per week and has requested an expansion to 1,000 doses per week.
Beginning this Thursday (March 4th), UofSC graduate students system-wide who are included in Phase 1b will be able to log into MyHealthSpace to schedule an available appointment for openings beginning next week. While we can currently only administer the vaccine on our Columbia campus, the appointments outlined above are available to all Phase 1b individuals in the UofSC System. It is important to note that Student Health Services currently receives the Moderna vaccine, which is NOT approved for those under age 18. For more information on the UofSC vaccine process, who qualifies and additional details on how to register, please visit the UofSC COVID-19 Vaccination Information page.
We are grateful to our graduate student community for your patience, commitment and resilience this past year. As we look toward a hopeful return to "normal," please continue your disciplined practice of wearing a mask, washing your hands and watching your distance – no matter your vaccine status. I also encourage you to attend the virtual Faculty and Staff Town Hall this Friday, March 5 at noon, where university administrators will answer any questions you might have.