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University of Mississippi forms COVID-19 vaccine task force

With COVID-19 vaccinations becoming available throughout Mississippi this month, the University of Mississippi is making plans for on-campus distribution.

The school recently announced the Vaccine Distribution and Administration Task Force to develop a strategy to immunize students, faculty and staff once doses of the new COVID-19 vaccine arrive at the University.

The task force will be chaired by David D. Allen, Dean for the School of Pharmacy. The committee will be charged with developing a strategy to immunize faculty, staff and students; ensure there are ample opportunities for everyone to be immunized; work with an asymptomatic testing company and the University Health Center to coordinate vaccination plans; coordinate with the distribution channel and any vaccination efforts from the Mississippi State Department of Health; recommend mechanisms to encourage people to get immunized; recommend mechanisms by which people can document or demonstrate immunization statue; make recommendations and provide guidance for the community on all other issues connected to the vaccine.

Along with Allen, 13 others make up the task force. Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Noel Wilkin revealed all committee members in an email sent out to the University community late last month.

“I’m deeply appreciative of their willingness to serve,” Wilkin said. “We will keep the university community informed of the task force’s work as it moves forward.”

The Mississippi State Department of Health began distributing the state’s allotment of the vaccine to hospitals and long-term care facilities in December. Phase 1 of the state’s vaccine distribution plan, which includes healthcare workers, is currently being implemented.

The vaccine will be available to those not deemed high-risk or vulnerable to COVID-19 later this year.

Those task force members include:

  • Dr. Sandy Bentley, director of Pharmacy Health Services
  • Ms. Claire Biggerstaff, undergraduate student and ASB principal of health and wellness
  • Dr. Lauren Bloodworth, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice
  • Dr. Arthur Doctor, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life
  • Ms. Sydney DuPriest, associate director of campus communication, University Marketing and Communications
  • Mr. Josh Glasz, emergency management coordinator
  • Ms. Laura Hill, associate general counsel
  • Dr. Alex Langhart, director of University Health Services
  • Ms. Erica McKinley, chief legal officer and general counsel
  • Dr. Brent Marsh, assistant vice chancellor and dean of students
  • Mr. Eric Pham, pharmacy student
  • Dr. Joshua Sharp, associate professor of pharmacology
  • Dr. Hubert Spears, staff physician, Employee Health Center