UM Vaccination Site Serves Community Through Care

Two-week span brought thousands of students, faculty, staff to Tad Smith Coliseum for COVID-19 shots

UM employee Tammy Diggs (left) receives a COVID-19 vaccination from Bailey Boyd, a fourth-year pharmacy student, at the university’s COVID-19 vaccine site at the Tad Smith Coliseum. Photo by Logan Kirkland/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – More than 2,300 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to members of the University of Mississippi community in just under two weeks, marking a significant milestone in the university’s effort to administer vaccines on campus and get as many students, faculty and staff vaccinated as possible.

Over a 13-day period, the university’s vaccination site at the Tad Smith Coliseum conducted eight days of clinics, working diligently to administer COVID-19 inoculations to members of the campus community who used the university’s unique vaccine scheduler that was created to manage on-campus appointments.

“Standing up this vaccination site gets to the heart of our commitment to protect the health of our community and also aligns with our mission as an institution of higher education,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce said.

“An operation of this magnitude does not happen overnight, and I’m so incredibly grateful to the team of enthusiastic, dedicated and skilled volunteers who contributed time and expertise across a number of areas and are working so diligently to keep us safe.”

Planning for the on-campus vaccination site began in December 2020 when the university launched its Vaccine Distribution and Administration Task Force, a group of administrators, faculty, staff and students all focused on developing a strategy to immunize the campus community.

“Vaccinations are the key to returning to full operations,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Seeing how our campus experts and volunteers mobilized to vaccinate our community within hours of the vials arriving on campus is a testament to their professionalism and commitment to our community.”

The vaccination site bustled with a steady stream of appointments as UM health care professionals, including the university’s nationally ranked pharmacy program, played a pivotal role in bringing clinical expertise from faculty and staff in administering the vaccine. Students from the School of Pharmacy, under the supervision of trained faculty and health care professionals, contributed to the successful operation of the site and received hands-on experience in a clinical setting.

Over a 13-day period, more than 2,300 COVID-19 vaccines were administered to members of the university community. Photo by Logan Kirkland/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“Pharmacists across the nation have played an important role in the response to the pandemic, especially with vaccination efforts,” said Lauren Bloodworth, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice. “We were excited to have the opportunity for our pharmacy faculty, staff and students to play a role in this public health initiative on our campus and see firsthand the benefit of service in our own community.”

Working with the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, the university received 1,170 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on March 12 to administer to its employees. Within three hours of receiving those doses, the university held its first appointments.

After successfully administered those doses, the university requested and received another 1,170 doses on March 22 and began offering the vaccine to all Ole Miss faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students. As of the last scheduled appointment on March 26, the university had administered 2,341 doses.

With all appointments at the vaccination site completed, members of the campus community who have not been vaccinated but wish to do so are encouraged to schedule an appointment through one of the following methods:

Second-dose vaccinations will be offered at the Tad Smith Coliseum in the coming weeks for those who had their first-dose appointment through the university. Any additional opportunities to administer first doses will be announced to the campus community.

Visit the university’s coronavirus website for updates on vaccinations and other COVID-19 items.