Northwestern University will not require students and staff to get COVID-19 vaccinations “at the present time,” according to Luke Figora, the school’s chief risk and compliance officer..
But, in an email to the NU community, Figora says, “we strongly encourage you to be vaccinated when eligible and will support your efforts to do so.”
Under the current Illinois Department of Public Health’s schedule for vaccinations, it appears most college students are far down the priority list and may have to wait quite a while for their shots.
Figora says the state is still trying to determine whether employees in education, such as faculty and certain other staff members, will be considered “frontline essential workers.”
It appears, Figora says, that vaccine distribution will be handled by public health departments at least through Phase 1(c). It’s unclear, he says, if Northwestern will be able to distribute the vaccine directly to the NU community at some point in the future.
The exact timetable for vaccine availability, other than for those getting shots now, is still not certain.
Figora says, “It is important to recognize that the vaccine might not be widely available until later this year.” He adds it’s essential, therefore, for everyone to continue measures such as wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining social distancing, even for those who have been vaccinated.
While Northwestern is not requiring COVID-19 shots at this time, Figora says “Getting vaccinated will be the key step to overcoming the pandemic globally and locally here at Northwestern.”