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UNC committee talks vaccine rollout and campus testing protocol

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The Campus and Community Advisory Committee meet virtually on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 to discuss COVID-19 testing and vaccination rollout plans for the upcoming semester.

Distribution of COVID-19 vaccines will mostly occur in the fall unless students get vaccinated at home or around campus in the summer, epidemiology professor Audrey Pettifor said at a Campus and Community Advisory Committee meeting Thursday. 

The committee met virtually to discuss current testing procedures and vaccination rollouts for UNC faculty, staff and students.

What’s new? 

  • Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said he believes moving all in-person classes to Feb. 8 was the right decision for the University. 
    • “We will have positive cases on our campus, and we will be prepared to handle them," Guskiewicz said. "We’ve now conducted over 10,000 tests as of this morning." 
  • Regarding complaints of long testing lines over the weekend, the Committee said changes were made to ensure testing efficiency. There are three testing centers open on and around campus: the Student Union, CURRENT ArtSpace and Rams Head Recreation Center. 
  • Provost Bob Blouin said UNC's campus will have "some priority" with vaccinations. 
    • “Orange County Health Department has been supportive of our advocacy in recategorizing faculty and campus front line workers,” he said. 
  • UNC School of Family Medicine professor Amir Barzin said his team is working on improving testing efficiency by implementing 30-minute testing windows in the Carolina Together Testing Program website, Hall Pass. 
  • Campus testing has largely been supported by line monitors, ambassadors and student volunteers, who inform participants what to do during the testing process at the testing space.
  • Professor of Medicine David Weber said UNC Health has 15 vaccination centers in 12 North Carolina counties. The program has provided 55,794 vaccine doses, he said. 
    • Webber said UNC Health is also currently administering nearly 1,000 doses per day at the Friday Center and is continuing to expand the number of vaccinations.

What’s next?

  • Webber said he suggested having a van or truck go to disadvantaged communities and provide vaccines, but logistical issues such as cold storage must be overcome before continuing with the plan.
  • Getting through Group 2 of the vaccine will take about two to six weeks depending on vaccine supply, Webber said. Essential workers will be able to receive the vaccine next.

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