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04-14-21-pennvaccinationsite-0232

History professor Anne Berg receives a dose of the Moderna vaccine, administered by Anredra Pendergrass, at the Gimbel Gymnasium vaccine site on April 14.

Credit: Chase Sutton

Penn will administer 500 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, a victory for students living in on-campus housing.

The Pfizer vaccine requires three weeks between its first and second doses, meaning Penn community members would receive the second dose on May 12. Students in on-campus housing are required to move out by May 13, so students living in the College Houses would be able to be fully vaccinated before leaving campus.

The University originally planned to administer 280 Moderna COVID-19 vaccines — which require four weeks between doses — on Wednesday, but will now administer those vaccines on Thursday and Friday in addition to the vaccines previously scheduled for those days, Director of Communications for Student Wellness Mary Kate Coghlan said. Penn will continue to administer Moderna vaccines on Tuesday.

Penn community members who are vaccinated on Thursday or Friday will receive their second dose on May 20 or May 21, after the on-campus move-out date.

Penn's COVID-19 vaccination site has been administering Moderna vaccines since it opened on April 14, but the type of vaccine will change on a week-to-week basis depending on what the City of Philadelphia is able to provide. Students became eligible to receive the vaccine on April 19, when the city began vaccinating all adults

Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé previously told The Daily Pennsylvanian on April 13 that the University is not prioritizing any student over another in its rollout plan, and encouraged students who can afford to wait to receive the vaccine to let others who may not have the same flexibility get vaccinated sooner.

"If you are someone that has a lease that doesn't expire until May 31, for example, consider waiting to sign up and allow someone else — an international student, maybe — who might not have the same flexibility and availability to receive the vaccine at home to get it sooner," Dubé said.

The University is using the same scheduling platform for COVID-19 vaccinations as COVID-19 testing. Penn community members are instructed to arrive at the back entrance of Pottruck Health and Fitness Center at 3730 Samson Street for their appointment, where they will be asked to check in and show Penn identification and their green PennOpen Pass. They will then be instructed to go upstairs to the Gimbel Gymnasium vaccination site, which is accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, to receive their vaccine. 

After receiving their vaccine, Penn community members will sit for a 15- or 30-minute observation period, depending on their medical history, to make sure they do not have any immediate vaccine side effects.

Penn will release appointment slots for the upcoming week by Friday afternoon of each week, Dubé said, adding that the University will continue to update the scheduling platform with new vaccine appointments if the city allots the University more doses, as it did this week. Dubé encouraged students to continue to check the scheduling website throughout the week and, most importantly, to remain patient.

"Not everyone will be able to get the vaccine next week, as much as we all would like that," Dubé said. "There is no perfect system, so we ask that everyone remain as patient as possible."

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