COVID-19 Vaccine Information

On April 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine due to the development of a rare blood clotting disorder and low platelet counts in six patients out of more than 6 million people who have received this vaccine. Out of an abundance of caution, the Wexner Medical Center has stopped scheduling new appointments for the J&J vaccine. Individuals who are currently scheduled to receive the J&J vaccine will be contacted to either reschedule their appointment to receive the Pfizer vaccine or to cancel it. The Wexner Medical Center has administered a total of 1,116 doses of the J&J vaccine – less than 1% of the more than 163,000 total vaccine doses administered. Anyone who has received a J&J vaccine at the Wexner Medical Center will receive a MyChart message with guidance on symptoms to watch for and what to do if these symptoms develop. Ohio State will await further direction from the FDA and CDC prior to beginning to offer the J&J vaccine in the future. The university remains committed to vaccination – along with practicing safe and healthy behaviors masking, physical distancing and handwashing – as a critical step in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university encourages everyone who is eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccination.

Vaccination scheduling opportunities follow the state’s phased distribution plan. Everyone 16 years of age or older is eligible to be vaccinated.​ Appointment availability is open to schedule at the Schottenstein Center, as well as at locations around the state. More appointments are added regularly. 

FAQs and additional information about the vaccine is available on the Wexner Medical Center website. To learn more, watch Dr. Andrew Thomas, chief clinical officer (CCO) for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, answer frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Q&A: COVID-19 Vaccines

Vaccine Distribution at the Wexner Medical Center

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has been selected as a COVID-19 vaccine distribution site.

For those individuals currently eligible to receive a vaccine, an appointment is required, and the option to schedule an appointment is only available once the criteria are met. Appointments can be scheduled via the Wexner Medical Center by logging into MyChart. Follow this step-by-step guideCheck back often as new appointments are added throughout the week.

Individuals who are not patients of the Wexner Medical Center or those who do not have a MyChart account can call 614-688-VAXX (8299) for assistance. Vaccinations will take place at the Schottenstein Center. More information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the Wexner Medical Center website.

If no appointments are available, sign up to be notified when additional appointment times are posted. Click on the “Get Notified” box and follow the instructions to enter your contact information.

Help with Vaccine Distribution

Both Ohio State students and exempt campus employees are now eligible to work as a vaccine runner at our two vaccine sites: the Schottenstein Center and Ohio State East Hospital. Runners greet and escort patients, provide an overview of what to expect, explain forms and clean the space afterward. With growing numbers of Ohioans eligible for vaccination, the need for help has never been greater. Runners will need to meet eligibility requirements and complete a HIPAA training course, as well as display proof of their daily health screening (green screen). Read complete details on how to register, with links to the required training and forms.

 

Dedicated Doses for the University Community

Beginning the week of April 12 and consistent with state guidelines, the university is dedicating a portion of the first-dose vaccine appointments at the Schottenstein Center Vaccine Station to any Ohio State student, faculty or staff member.

Appointments under this new opportunity are displayed in MyChart, with the first available appointments beginning Wednesday, April 14, and running through April 20. Each week, additional appointments will be released after we receive information about the brand and the number of doses for our next weekly allocation of vaccine. The dedicated doses will be distributed at our Schottenstein Center vaccination location.

When possible, individuals should plan to receive their second dose at the same vaccination site where they received their first dose.

  • Some vaccination sites allow an individual to receive a second dose when they received their first dose elsewhere, but it is not guaranteed that all communities will have a vaccination site that does so. 
  • If you plan to receive your second dose near your permanent home or any location other than where you receive your first dose, please check with the local vaccine providers to ensure that it is permitted there.
  • If you cannot find a provider that will administer a second dose when you have not received your first dose there, please plan to delay your first dose of vaccine until you arrive at your future location, or plan to return to Columbus for your second dose.
  • If you do find a provider who will administer your second dose, proceed with scheduling your first dose here at the Wexner Medical Center or another vaccine site in central Ohio.

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Shuttle

The university is providing a shuttle to the Schottenstein Center for students, faculty and staff who have vaccine appointments. Operating hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m. from Monday-Friday and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday. Stops are made every 10 minutes at the Schottenstein Center, Ohio Union and Blackburn House. A map is available on the Traffic and Transportation Management website.

Vaccine Distribution Sites around Ohio

Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the State of Ohio is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

The COVID-19 vaccine is available at more than 1,300 locations statewide and 110 locations in Franklin County including retail pharmacies, hospitals and public health departments.

The state has created an online tool to help Ohioans identify vaccine distribution sites in their communities. Additional information about the state’s vaccine distribution plan is available on the Ohio Department of Health website

University Town Halls

Dr. Andy Thomas during Town Hall meetingTown halls were held monthly through April to provide an opportunity for the community to ask questions about COVID-19.

The March and April discussions also included information on university planning efforts related to fall semester. Please visit the Autumn Campus Reactivation page to read more details.

 

Feb. 1, 2021View recording
March 1, 2021View recording
April 12, 2021 

Federal, State and Local Resources

The CDC, State of Ohio and City of Columbus have shared resources about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine along with details about vaccine distribution. Links to more information are below.

Continue Following Safe and Healthy Requirements

While this progress is promising, it remains critically important to keep following public health protocols – even if you receive the vaccine. That means continuing to wear masks, practicing physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings and consistently cleaning your hands. Together As Buckeyes, we will continue to do our part to have a safe and healthy spring semester – and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility, availability and scheduling

Who is eligible to be vaccinated?

Everyone 16 years of age or older is eligible to be vaccinated.

How do eligible people sign up to receive a vaccine at the the Wexner Medical Center?

Eligible individuals should log in to their MyChart account to schedule their vaccination. There is a step-by-step guide on the Wexner Medical Center site to assist with scheduling through MyChart. Individuals who are not patients of the Wexner Medical Center or those who do not have a MyChart account can call 614-688-VAXX (8299) for assistance. Including the Schottenstein Center, there are more than 100 COVID-19 vaccination locations in Franklin County alone, and the state has launched a new centralized scheduling tool at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Are there locations other than the Medical Center where students, faculty and staff can be vaccinated?

The COVID-19 vaccine is available at more than 1,300 locations statewide and 110 locations in Franklin County including retail pharmacies, hospitals and public health departments. The state has created an online tool to help Ohioans identify vaccine distribution sites in their communities. Additional information about the state’s vaccine distribution plan is available on the Ohio Department of Health website

Are students and others vaccinated at Ohio State able to get a second dose at another location in or outside of Ohio and how is this done?

Those who receive an initial vaccine should retain their COVID-19 vaccine card, which will document which vaccine they had and when they should receive a second dose.  This vaccine card may also be needed in the future to easily document the fact that you have received the vaccine.

When possible, an individual should plan to receive their second dose at the same vaccination site where they received their first dose. 

  • Like the Wexner Medical Center, some vaccination sites allow an individual to receive a second dose when they received their first dose elsewhere, but it is not guaranteed that all communities will have a vaccination site that does so. 
  • If you plan to receive your second dose near your permanent home or any location other than where you receive your first dose, please check with the local vaccine providers to ensure that it is permitted there.
    • If you cannot find a provider that will administer a second dose when you have not received your first dose there, please plan to delay your first dose of vaccine until you arrive at your future location, or plan to return to Columbus for your second dose.
    • If you do find a provider who will administer your second dose, proceed with scheduling your first dose here at the Wexner Medical Center or another vaccine site in central Ohio. 

Is there a back-up or standby list for people to receive the vaccine if they qualify and there are doses left over?

At this time, the supply of vaccine prepared for the day is aligned with the patients scheduled for the day. Throughout the day as patients are added on and/or are no shows, the amount of vaccine prepared is adjusted.  At the end of the clinic, if there are any remaining doses, we follow the guidance put forth by the State of Ohio to identify people to receive the vaccine.  To date, we have been able to effectively follow this guidance and no doses of vaccine have been wasted at the end of any clinic. 

What is Ohio State is doing to help ensure that students, faculty and staff can receive the vaccine? 

The university has been given the opportunity by the state of Ohio to dedicate 25% of the Wexner Medical Center’s first-dose vaccine allocation to any Ohio State student, faculty or staff member. This is possible because of the increasing number of doses available to the Wexner Medical Center and the Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s work to secure additional vaccines for college and university students in Ohio. Appointments under this new opportunity will be displayed in MyChart beginning April 9, with the first available appointments beginning Wednesday, April 14, and running through April 20. Each week, additional appointments will be released after the university receives information about the brand and the number of doses for our next weekly allocation of vaccine. 

Will Ohio State prioritize faculty teaching in person to receive the vaccine? 

The university has been given the opportunity by the state of Ohio to dedicate 25% of the Wexner Medical Center’s first-dose vaccine allocation to any Ohio State student, faculty or staff member. This is possible because of the increasing number of doses available to the Wexner Medical Center and the Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s work to secure additional vaccines for college and university students in Ohio. Appointments under this new opportunity will be displayed in MyChart beginning April 9, with the first available appointments beginning Wednesday, April 14, and running through April 20. Each week, additional appointments will be released after the university receives information about the brand and the number of doses for our next weekly allocation of vaccine. 

The university continues to apply extraordinary safeguards for in-person activities. Students are being tested weekly, physical distancing is being maintained, spaces are being regularly cleaned and we continue to require masking to keep COVID at bay. Additionally, the university continues to offer flexible work arrangements, including remote work options when appropriate, to faculty, staff and student employees. Leaders and managers are encouraged to provide flexibility and remote work options to the fullest extent possible while ensuring that operational and educational needs are met. Ohio State data over the past six months demonstrate that COVID cases among our university community have overwhelmingly originated from social situations, not from our classrooms or workspaces.

Why have some students already been vaccinated? 

The COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed under the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Ohio. The initial phase of distribution at the Wexner Medical Center focused on health care personnel, support employees (e.g., environmental services, security, etc.) and health sciences students who provide patient care, consistent with state and federal guidance. Some students may be eligible for the vaccine based on a medical condition or field placements in K-12 classroom settings.

When it is more widely available, should faculty, staff and students expect to be vaccinated through Ohio State? 

Like the flu vaccine, we expect that eventually you will be able to receive a vaccine for COVID-19 through a variety of providers, including hospitals, retail pharmacies and health departments, depending on your health insurance, your medical provider, your location in the state and other factors. Including the Schottenstein Center, there are more than 90 COVID-19 vaccination locations in Franklin County alone and more are planned to be added. The university is actively planning for expanded vaccine distribution for students, faculty and staff as allowed by the state of Ohio and will work in coordination with Gov. Mike DeWine as well as state and local health experts.

Will Ohio State require the vaccine?

No. Everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they are able to do so. The vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective. 

Are there locations other than the Medical Center where students, faculty and staff can be vaccinated?

The COVID-19 vaccine is available at more than 1,300 locations statewide and 110 locations in Franklin County including retail pharmacies, hospitals and public health departments. The state has created an online tool to help Ohioans identify vaccine distribution sites in their communities. Additional information about the state’s vaccine distribution plan is available on the Ohio Department of Health website

How is Ohio State partnering to ensure that the vaccination is reaching underrepresented communities?

The COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately exposed even more of the health disparities that already existed for communities that experience health care barriers. These especially include people of color, rural residents and those experiencing poverty.

Getting all those we serve vaccinated against COVID-19 is one of our top priorities, and for those in historically underserved communities, it takes extra care to ensure that they have the access and information needed to keep themselves safe and healthy.

Beginning Feb. 26, Vaccine Station East opened for patients and community members in targeted ZIP codes who have been hit hardest by COVID-19. Vaccine sessions will be held weekly and access will expand as supply and patient engagement permits. 

Additionally, the university has developed a COVID-19 Vaccine External Education Committee, led by Darrell Gray, MD, MPH, deputy director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at The James, and Beth NeCamp, executive director of Civic and Community Engagement, specifically to provide education for our community, particularly as the state moves from Phase 1A in its vaccination plan. Three workgroups make up this committee:

  • The Community Engagement and Communications workgroup is focused on developing consistent, educational, resonant messaging based on the various populations we must reach.
  • The Vaccine Access and Uptake workgroup provides transportation to vaccine sites and assists with neighborhood-based, mobile vaccine distribution.
  • The Analytics and Measurement workgroup uses data to identify the best ways to help those in need of vaccines and vaccine information.

The Wexner Medical Center is partnering with other central Ohio health systems and public health agencies to expand access to consistent, clear and accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, the university will stay closely engaged with higher education associations (AAU, APLU, IUC), community organizations and other local groups to coordinate on vaccine perception campaigns.

Variants

How concerning are new variants of COVID-19 for our campus community and what is Ohio State doing to monitor and respond to these variants?

We are continuously and broadly monitoring the emergence and spread of new variants and some projections lead us to believe that highly transmissible variants could circulate widely in Ohio this winter and spring. We are also working right here on campus to detect new variants and monitoring for variants of concern in our campus population at our Ohio State laboratories. Although these variants may not cause a new surge in cases, they could slow the current decrease in infections. These variants not only reinforce the importance of safety measures including proper masking and physical distancing, but demand that we each double down on our commitment to taking these precautions, especially social gatherings indoors and unmasked.

Safety

The vaccines were developed at record pace. Are they safe? 

The vaccine is deemed to be safe based upon a rigorous evaluation of currently available scientific evidence. If the available scientific evidence changes or if new information becomes available, the authorization for its use can be adapted.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

It’s natural, and expected, for the body to have an immune response to a vaccine. Some people in the clinical trial have experienced side effects, including injection site pain or redness, fatigue, muscle/joint pain and headache. Side effects were more frequently reported after the second dose.

I’m unlikely to be negatively impacted by the virus. Why should I get vaccinated? 

The vaccine is deemed to be safe based upon a rigorous evaluation of currently available scientific evidence. If the available scientific evidence changes or if new information becomes available, the authorization for its use can be adapted. Vaccination protects you from severe illness from COVID-19. That’s a critical benefit, which will help you and reduce the burden on our hospitals and society. We may also eventually find out that the vaccine has an impact on infection and transmission, too. But, right now, it’s just too early to know. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they are able to do so.

Guidance for people who have been vaccinated

Can people still transmit the virus after being vaccinated?

Vaccination protects you from severe illness from COVID-19. That’s a critical benefit, which will help you and reduce the burden on our hospitals and society. We may also eventually find out that the vaccine has an impact on infection and transmission, too. But it’s just too early to know. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they are able to do so. The Safe and Healthy requirements — wearing masks properly, staying at least six feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and washing hands often — should still be followed.

Do people who have been vaccinated still need to quarantine if exposed to someone with COVID-19?

If you are fully vaccinated and identified as a close contact, the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team will determine if your vaccination status currently qualifies you for a quarantine exemption..

Will students who have received the vaccine still need to be tested?

Yes. The vaccination protects you from significant illness from COVID-19. It’s not clear yet whether it also protects against infection. And we don’t know whether people who have been vaccinated can still transmit the virus. The Safe and Healthy requirements — wearing masks properly, staying at least six feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and washing hands often — should still be followed.

New CDC guidance says that it’s safe for fully vaccinated people to relax safety measures in non-public, indoor spaces when they’re spending time with other fully vaccinated people. What does this mean on campus? Is it OK, for instance, for two vaccinated people to unmask at the same table in the library? 

In public settings with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people, public health measures including proper masking and physical distancing remain critical to slowing the continuing spread of COVID-19. For now, a majority of Ohio State students, faculty and staff have not received vaccine and all safety precautions, like wearing a mask in the library, remain required to protect our fellow Buckeyes and the broader community.