Principles & Policies Regarding Vaccination

As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has observed, “[i]mmunization with a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is a critical component of the United States’ strategy to reduce COVID-19-related illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths and to help restore societal functioning.”[1] The University of Denver (DU) is committed to these goals and to adhering to Colorado’s vaccine prioritization efforts. With safe and effective vaccines now available and distribution just underway, the University is committed to a principled, effective, fair and transparent approach to vaccine administration for members of its community. The University must comply with state requirements, which are subject to change. The most current prioritization framework is available here. At this time, the University is not a distribution site for vaccination; however, we are registered and prepared to be such a site if permitted, and we intend to have a prioritization structure in place by January 31, 2021. Individuals who are eligible for vaccination now are encouraged to pursue vaccination through health care providers and public offerings.

These principles and policies were developed by the COVID-19 Vaccine Working Group (CVWG) and approved by Chancellor Haefner and Provost Clark on January 21, 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccination Survey

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Guiding Principles

Our work is guided by four overarching principles: (1) Safety; (2) Transparency; (3) Equity; and (4) Privacy (STEP).

  • One

    Safety

    The University will prioritize access to vaccines for those whose University responsibilities place them at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Within such prioritized groupings, the University will also consider–to the extent possible–individuals’ risk of COVID-19 complications due to age or self-disclosed medical risk factors.  

  • Two

    Transparency

    The University will communicate transparently on matters of community concern, including its vaccination prioritization principles and practices. DU personnel will be able to access and contribute to the information used to determine their own prioritization.

  • Three

    Equity

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted both pre-existing and emerging health disparities in our nation, including those associated with race, ethnicity, socio-economic status and occupational privilege, as well as pre-existing health risks. The University recognizes that issues surrounding vaccination and prioritization may differentially impact communities of color and those with trauma related to historical or contemporary experiences with government-controlled medical initiatives. In its decisions and processes, the University will promote fairness and equity for all members of our community. Please visit this page for resources related to diversity, equity and inclusion and COVID-19.

  • Four

    Privacy

    On matters implicating individual privacy–including whether a member of the community has already been vaccinated–the University will protect such privacy to the extent permitted by law.

Policies & Procedures

The state of Colorado vaccine framework, which governs our prioritization, is illustrated in the following graphic from January 29, 2021, and the most updated information is available here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Phases

Effective Vaccine Administration

Working with campus experts and National Jewish Health, the University will develop a sound and comprehensive system for managing vaccine access, including (but not limited to) vaccine handling and storage, vaccination-related documentation and reporting and health and safety procedures during vaccination.

Avoiding Waste

Distributing scarce vaccine doses, even to someone outside of the category for prioritized access, is better than wasting a valuable resource. Accordingly, distribution of vaccine doses to an available person will occur if the alternative is to allow vaccine doses to go to waste.

Prioritization

  1. As of Jan. 29, 2021, the State of Colorado does not recognize higher education students, faculty or staff as a priority group. These policies and procedures therefore focus on state-prioritized university personnel, including faculty, staff, contracted employees and student employees whose employment places them in categories 1A or 1B.1 (currently eligible) or 1B.2 (planned eligibility 2-8-01).
  2. The University is prioritizing DU personnel at risk of contracting COVID-19 by virtue of their University responsibilities (e.g., employees who fall into Colorado’s 1a priority group, such as medical staff at the Health & Counseling Center). Personnel who fall into a priority group because of external obligations would also be eligible but would be in a lower priority group (e.g., someone who has a second job in an Early 1b setting that is not connected with their DU responsibilities).
  3. The University is prioritizing individuals whose work is on campus in winter or spring term 2021.
  4. The CDC currently recommends delaying vaccine administration until at least 90 days after COVID-19 infection; our prioritization will follow this guidance.
  5. Within prioritization categories, individual risk factors (e.g., age, self-disclosed qualifying medical conditions) will also be considered. Where possible, individuals with risk factors will be prioritized over those in the same priority category who do not have such risk factors.
  6. While this is a time-sensitive situation requiring preparation to act quickly, we view this as a living document subject to revision. Please email any recommendations for changes to COVIDcoordinator@du.edu.
Campus

Prioritization of DU Personnel: Category 1a, 1b.1, 1b.2, & 1.b.3

The University has solicited supervisor identification of individuals who, based on their University responsibilities, may be eligible for Colorado’s 1a 1b.1 or 1b.2 priority vaccination. The University has also reached out to these individuals to request their verification of eligibility and assess their interest in vaccination. Records of these steps have been retained. All community members have also been invited to verify the information the University is using to categorize DU personnel for the purpose of prioritization (via PioneerWeb login, by selecting the COVID-19 Vaccination Portal), and to provide their evaluation of their eligibility.

The University will provide all individuals identified as prioritized with verification letters for download. The DU COVID-19 coordinator will help DU personnel identify vaccination locations, and wherever possible, help facilitate vaccination appointments including by hosting vaccine events on campus in partnership with National Jewish Health.

DU personnel in the 1a category might include:

  • Health & Counseling Center medical staff (e.g., physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, medical assistants)
  • Housing & Residential Education COVID-19 field team interacting with community members who have tested positive for the virus
  • Campus security assigned to the Hilltop dorm—an isolation facility for students who have tested positive for the virus
  • Facilities staff (custodial and maintenance) assigned to the Hilltop dorm
  • Sports medicine staff
  • Lab personnel in labs dedicated to COVID-19 research
  • Environmental health & safety personnel

DU personnel in the 1b.1 category might include:

  • Remaining Health & Counseling Center patient-facing staff
  • Housing & Residential Education COVID-19 response team
  • Wastewater plumbers/collection personnel
  • Saliva testing & transport personnel
  • Clinicians providing in-person mental health care as part of DU responsibilities
  • COVID-19 response team members in high-contact contexts
  • DU personnel aged 70 or older

DU Personnel in the 1b.2 category might include:

  • Teachers and school staff, including substitutes, at Fisher and Ricks
  • Facilities staff who may be engaged at Fisher and Ricks
  • DU personnel aged 65 or older

DU Personnel in the 1b.3 category might include:

  • DU students, faculty and staff with two or more qualifying medical conditions
  • DU personnel aged 60 or older

The University expects supervisors and personnel to act in good faith, honestly representing their and their supervisees’ employment and educational exposure accurately and to the best of their knowledge.

DU also asks that members of the community act in good faith in self-reporting their eligibility criteria. The reporting system will be confidential to the extent possible.