Dear students, faculty and staff,
I’m writing to share my gratitude, admiration and congratulations to the entire team that is managing the administration of COVID-19 vaccines on our campus. We worked closely with the MS State of Department of Health and the IHL to acquire vaccine doses to administer to our employees. Those efforts came to fruition last Friday and Saturday as nearly 500 members of our campus community began receiving first doses at the Tad Smith Coliseum. And, with Mississippi announcing today that they are currently offering COVID-19 immunizations to persons 16 and older, I encourage everyone to get a vaccine at their earliest convenience through any of the available vaccination sites for which they are eligible.
An operation of this magnitude does not happen overnight. The planning for this project has been in the works since December, when we launched our Vaccine Distribution and Administration Task Force. I’m tremendously grateful to Provost Noel Wilkin, Dean David Allen and all of the task force members for providing valuable leadership.
I also want to recognize several others including Dr. Lauren Bloodworth, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice; Dr. Sandy Bentley, director of Pharmacy Health Services; Dr. Sam Payton, director for research, assessment & planning; and Alex Langhart, director of University Health Services. I’m grateful to these servant leaders for how they assist our community through all their work and expertise on the vaccination site.
We’ve heard from many of you about the professionalism and smoothness of the whole process. A big part of that is due to the behind-the-scenes work by Drs. Bloodworth, Bentley and Payton. Responsible for the coordination and logistics among other things, Dr. Bloodworth is to be commended for the execution and efficiency of the site. As you can imagine, the vaccine process and requirements are intricate and complex, and we’re grateful to Dr. Bentley for navigating those details skillfully. I want to thank Dr. Payton for building and managing the appointment platform. Her attention to detail and trouble-shooting skills are outstanding. I also want to recognize Alex Langhart for his continued leadership and invaluable expertise to our overall COVID-19 response including the vaccine rollout.
And, of course, we could not have accomplished any of this without the army of enthusiastic, dedicated and skilled volunteers of pharmacy students, residents and faculty as well as other healthcare professionals. A big thanks also to the numerous administrators and staff who contributed time and expertise across a number of areas.
Standing up this vaccination site gets to the heart of our commitment to protect the health of our community. It also aligns with our mission as an institution of higher education. We have the talent and expertise at the ready in our School of Pharmacy and across our campus. This project gave our students and residents a fantastic opportunity to hone their skills in a clinical setting.
We remain focused on our goals of getting vaccines in arms so that no doses go unused and vaccinating as many people on our campus as we can. The hard work of this team drew lots of praise and attention, including a story from Fox13 News. Kudos to the entire team for handling this with confidence, proficiency, professionalism and caring.
I’m so proud to be a member of this remarkable university community, and I hope that you will join me in thanking all of those in our campus community who are working diligently to keep us safe.
Glenn F. Boyce