UA to offer vaccines to essential student workers  


Meghan Schiano | @megschiano, Contributing Writer

The University will begin offering vaccines to essential student workers with high levels of face-to-face interaction. This includes teaching assistants, resident assistants, and orientation and visit staff, among others. 

Student workers fall into the Alabama Department of Public Health’s (ADPH) current phase of vaccine allocation, which includes higher education employees. The University prioritized faculty, staff, first responders and frontline workers but will now extend vaccinations to student workers as well.  


According to a UA News release, all eligible UA faculty and staff, contract workers with direct student interactions and other qualifying populations were offered the first dose of the vaccine through the University Medical Center (UMC) by March 12. 

In early January, UMC received 3,500 doses of the two-part Moderna vaccine. The following month, the University received about 1,000 additional first doses. Monica Watts, associate vice president for communications, said UMC had distributed about 90% of all first doses and about one-third of all second doses by the end of February. 

Earlier that month, a representative from UA’s Division of Strategic Communications said vaccine distribution numbers were expected to be published on the UA System COVID-19 Dashboard in the coming weeks. These numbers have not yet been included in weekly dashboard updates.  

Phase 1c

On Friday, ADPH announced an upcoming expansion into Phase 1c of vaccine eligibility, which includes individuals aged 16 or older with underlying, high-risk medical conditions. Phase 1c will go into effect on March 22. 

“In conjunction with the UA System Health and Safety Task Force, we are reviewing the latest ADPH guidance and potential options to offer vaccinations to students who fall into phase 1c,” a UA News release said. “Timing and vaccine availability will impact planning, especially as the end of semester nears.” 

The Pfizer vaccine is the only approved vaccine for individuals aged 16 or older. 

UMC’s first shipment of vaccines was from Moderna. Dr. Richard Friend, dean of UA’s College of Community Health Sciences, told The CW on Feb. 24 that he expected an upcoming shipment from Pfizer. 

County health departments currently offer the Moderna vaccine. Other providers in Alabama, such as hospitals and some pharmacies, have the Pfizer vaccine.