Northwestern University will start COVID-19 vaccination for students this week, who are prioritized based on several criteria.

Based on the number of shots expected in week 1, it may be a slow process.

In a memo to the university community, NU Vice-President Luke Figora says NU expects to offer approximately 600 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week.

Northwestern has 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students, so 600 shots is a drop in the bucket. However, the state of Illinois made those over age 16 eligible for shots on April 12, so it is possible for students to get vaccinated elsewhere. In fact, the state is offering specific slots for college students at several mass vaccination locations.

As for on-campus vaccinations, Figora says NU will “invite students living in on-campus housing first and then invite students registered for in-person classes.” He says the university will then invite undergraduate and graduate students “based on their engagement level on campus, prioritizing those who have been the most actively engaged.”

Figora notes that there is currently not enough vaccine supply to meet demand, but more doses are expected, and “we ask you to be patient and await an invitation in the coming weeks as supply continues to increase.”

While Northwestern is strongly encouraging students to get vaccinated, there is no requirement for them to do so. Several universities are making vaccinations mandatory for the fall session. NU is looking into that, but as of now vaccinations are still optional.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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