In contrast to the rest of the state, the city of Long Beach has so far been successful with its vaccination program and Long Beach State has played a pivotal role in making the citywide vaccination efforts an accomplishment.
“We feel like we are doing this in part to contribute to our community as well as protect our faculty, staff, and students,” President Jane Close Conoley said. “We feel like the more people that are protected, that protects our healthcare system and protects others.”
As of March 4, Los Angeles County is leading the state in vaccine rollout. Of 9,673,787 total doses administered in California, LA County has administered 2,333,730. San Diego County comes in second at just under a million doses.
Long Beach has administered a total of 114,242 doses, or 16.1% of its residents as of March 2. Through CSULB’s vaccination program, 3,331 vaccinations have been administered as of March 1, according to the university’s dashboard.
The university has received accolades from others for its vaccination program. According to Beth Lesen, vice president of the Division of Student Affairs, those who have been vaccinated at the university have commented on how “well-run,” staffed and quick the vaccine process is.
She attributes this success to CSULB being a closed space with limited access during this time and said she feels “it’s an honor to be a part of it.”
“It’s really an honor that Long Beach State gets to be a closed pod and gets to perform this service to our campus community,” Lesen said. “I’m really thrilled that it’s something we get to do because not all campuses have a pod on campus, not all campuses have been able to provide this service to their campus communities.”
CSULB is currently offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to eligible campus faculty and staff.
Twelve other California State University campuses have their own vaccination programs: Fullerton, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Maritime Academy, Monterey Bay, Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona, Sacramento State, San Diego State, San Francisco State, San Jose State, San Marcos and Stanislaus State.
For its first shipment, CSULB received over 2,300 doses of the vaccine.
According to Conoley, CSULB is expecting to receive more doses of the vaccine but is unsure when the next shipment will arrive. Those who have received their first shot have received appointments for their second shot.
“The availability of doses is a little wonky,” Conoley said. “We are hoping that over the next three weeks that the supply will become more predictable, but we are feeling confident. We are making the appointments, that’s all we can do.”
Conoley said that even though it’s recommended that the second dose is administered three weeks after the first, research from the United Kingdom has found that individuals can wait an extra week.
The university hopes to vaccinate the majority of the Beach community, though there is no timeline in place for how long that will take.
“We intend to vaccinate the entire campus community as quickly as possible, dependent on vaccine supply and the capacity of the clinic,” Jeff Cook, associate vice president for strategic communications, said in an email. “We encourage members of our campus community to explore all options for obtaining a vaccination.”
Students currently aren’t eligible for the vaccine but can access resources to decide whether or not they want to get the vaccine. Conoley predicts that students will become eligible in April or May.
“When we start to see more student eligibility, we will start to do more Q&A sessions for student populations, making medical professionals available to students to answer any questions they may have about the vaccine,” Lesen said.