Vaccine and Surveillance Testing Updates

Vaccine Update

From the first two surveys conducted before the holiday break, more than 1,200 Marshall employees have indicated their interest in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

The university received its first allotment of vaccine last week and on Dec. 30 administered 277 doses of the Moderna vaccine to employees. We were able to do this during winter break with assistance from the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, faculty and students from the School of Nursing, and volunteers from the offices of Student Affairs and Environmental Health and Safety.

Depending on the actual amount of vaccine allotted to us, we anticipate vaccinating the following numbers of employees in the next three clinics:

  • Week 2 (Jan. 4-8) = 180
  • Week 3 (Jan. 11-15) = up to 450
  • Week 4 (Jan. 18-22) = up to 275

Vaccines are being allocated according to the process announced in December, which includes considerations for age, health conditions, face-to-face contact with patients/the public and on-site work. Based on directions from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, employees who indicated they have been working on campus or providing face-to-face instruction are being given priority over those who reported they have been working primarily remotely. In addition, availability on the date of the clinic and the timeliness of response to the surveys have been taken into consideration in the prioritization.

If you completed a survey, you are on the list to receive a vaccine and will be notified when it is your turn.

Please understand that the guidance we are receiving about vaccine distribution and administration has often been inconsistent and subject to change. In addition, we have had little advance notice regarding receipt of our vaccine allocation, and are doing our best to adapt and to keep the university community informed. If you completed a survey to indicate your desire to receive a vaccination and have not yet received an e-mail from the CDC, please monitor your e-mail closely. You will likely have a very short window of time to respond to the CDC notice to schedule an appointment at an upcoming clinic.

Once we receive guidance from the State as to the availability of vaccine for weeks 5 and beyond, a third survey will be sent to employees so those who have not yet responded will have an opportunity to receive a vaccination. We remain committed to ensuring that every employee who wants to be vaccinated can do so.

Appointments for the second dose

Last week’s vaccine recipients should have received an e-mail from the CDC’s Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) to schedule the second dose of the Moderna vaccine after Jan. 26. Marshall is still not listed as a location in VAMS, but we will be notifying participants about how to schedule the appointment. Everyone who received a vaccine on Dec. 30 will be able to receive their second vaccine within the appropriate timeframe.

Required Return-to-Work Testing

As communicated by e-mail Dec. 9 and in the Dec. 16 issue of “We Are Marshall,” all Marshall employees working on site must be tested for COVID-19 within three days of their return to the workplace following the holiday break. The only exceptions are those employees who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Due to the large numbers of tests necessary to accommodate Huntington campus employees returning the week of Jan. 4, appointments are required. If you are returning to work on the Huntington campus this week, please use the online scheduling system to reserve a time slot for your test.

If you are returning to work on the Huntington campus after Jan. 8, no testing appointment is necessary. You can participate in walk-up testing at your convenience, as long as it is within three working days of your return.

Employees in the South Charleston and Mid-Ohio Valley Center locations will be tested on their respective campuses and should contact their campus director for instructions.

Note that Marshall has switched its testing method on all campuses from nasal swabs to less invasive self-administered saliva-based tests. Before your saliva test, refrain from eating, drinking, smoking/vaping, using tobacco products, chewing gum or using mouthwash for at least 30 minutes. You are encouraged to drink plenty of water prior to that 30-minute window to help ensure you have an adequate amount of saliva for the test. Detailed instructions for the saliva testing procedure are available on the university’s coronavirus website.

Ongoing Surveillance Testing

The university was informed this week that, per the Office of the Governor, surveillance testing of university employees is no longer required. Therefore, employees will not receive surveillance testing notices this semester. Walk-up testing will continue to be available to employees. Surveillance testing of students will continue, with 10% of the university’s on-campus student population tested weekly.

We appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation in what remains a very fluid process. We will do our best to keep the university community informed.

Questions about vaccinations and testing should be directed to COVID19@marshall.edu.