Temple to open COVID-19 vaccine clinic tomorrow

The university will vaccinate students, faculty and staff on Wednesday, followed by city residents on Thursday.

Mark Denys, director of Student Health Services, discusses the vaccination process at the vaccine clinic at James S. White Hall on Broad Street near Diamond on March 30. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University will begin administering first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to eligible students, faculty and employees with appointments at White Hall tomorrow morning.

As of Tuesday, more than 6,000 Temple students, faculty and staff have completed the university’s vaccine interest form, and the university expects to receive more responses, said Mark Denys, director of Student Health Services, during a media walkthrough at the clinic Tuesday afternoon.

Philadelphia is currently in Phase 1B of its vaccine distribution effort, which includes frontline essential workers, people aged 65 and older, people with high-risk medical conditions and people working or residing in long-term care facilities, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

More than 515,000 Philadelphians are partially vaccinated and more than 251,000 are fully vaccinated as of March 30, according to the Department of Public Health website. 

The White Hall clinic will be open two days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for six weeks. Eligible students, faculty and staff who live in Philadelphia will receive shots on Wednesdays, and city residents will receive shots on Thursdays, The Temple News reported

Temple’s White Hall clinic receives 1,100 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the city each week and will administer roughly 505 to 515 doses each day it is open, The Temple News reported. The university will administer first doses during the first three weeks of the clinic’s operations and second doses during the final three weeks. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech uses mRNA technology to make antibodies against COVID-19 and require two doses several weeks apart, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

People with appointments at the clinic will first line up in White Hall’s front lobby to verify their appointment with the site’s volunteer workers, Denys said. 

After verifying their appointment, guests will proceed to the first floor common area, where they will discuss their demographic information and possible health complications from receiving the vaccine with a clinic worker, Denys said. Those who might have health complications from receiving the vaccine will meet with on-site physicians from Student Health Services who will evaluate if they will be able to receive the vaccine that day, he added .

Once the screening process is complete, guests will move into a lounge directly adjacent to the screening area to receive a vaccine dose. The clinic currently has six stations available for administering vaccine shots and has the capacity to add an additional two stations if necessary, Denys said.

After receiving their vaccine shot, guests will stay in one of White Hall’s bedrooms for 15 to 30 minutes while volunteer workers monitor their reactions to the vaccine. Those who need to make an appointment to receive their second vaccine dose will be able to do so using a university-provided computer or iPad. 

The university is determining which city residents should receive appointments based on a list the City of Philadelphia has provided of eligible residents from ZIP codes neighboring Temple’s Main Campus who completed the city’s vaccine interest form, Denys said. 

Roughly 2,357 per 10,000 in the 19121 ZIP code and 2,030 per 10,000 in 19122 have been partially vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Department of Public Health website.

Because the Pfizer vaccine must be kept at subzero temperatures, Temple is storing its vaccine supply in a refrigerator within the School of Pharmacy’s Environmental Health and Radiation Safety department, which is located on Temple’s Health Sciences Campus, Denys said. The university will transport the necessary number of vaccine doses for the day to White Hall every morning the clinic is open.

Approximately 10 staff members from Student Health Services and 15 volunteers are staffing the White Hall clinic, Denys said. Staff from the Office of University Housing and Residential Life will clean the clinic, Denys added.

Temple will decide whether to extend the White Hall clinic’s operations for longer than six weeks in late April or early May after evaluating if they have enough vaccine doses and staff, Denys said. 

The university is also considering opening additional COVID-19 vaccine clinics in spaces other than White Hall, especially when larger campus spaces become available at the end of the spring semester, Denys added. 

“We’re hoping as time goes on and more vaccines become available from the City of Philadelphia we’ll be able to expand the operation,” Denys said.

Temple announced plans to use White Hall as a COVID-19 vaccine clinic on March 22, The Temple News reported

Temple highly recommends, but will not require, students, faculty and staff receive a COVID-19 vaccine before the start of the Fall 2021 semester, Denys said.

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