As UK moves forward in vaccine rollout, there are questions about who’s next in line

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 10:43 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The University of Kentucky started vaccinating students, faculty and staff beyond healthcare workers.

Some of the school employees and students who reported getting emails to schedule an appointment are hesitant to cut in line. Others are wondering when they are going to get their turn.

A spokesperson for UK confirmed more people are getting vaccinated, but in order to avoid wasting doses, officials sometimes have to move down the line.

“In the meantime, following state guidelines, which include the direction to distribute the vaccines you receive as quickly as possible each week, we have begun to invite for vaccination members of our campus community as part of additional phases. That includes faculty and staff over the age of 65, custodial and facilities staff who have high levels of in-person interactions on campus each day and members of our student services staff who support students in a number of critical roles.”

Employees like Scott Zurkuhlen, a groundskeeper, received an email this week, and weren’t sure it was real.

“Frankly, I’m a little surprised to be getting it at this point,” he said.

With no option to work from home, he said the exposure he has to students can be scary.

“Last semester, I really went far out of my way to wash my hands, avoid people, buildings, when I didn’t need to go in them,” he said.

Matt Heil, who works as the circulation manager in the Evans Law Library, also regularly interacts with people face to face.

“I check books out to people, I occasionally go into the stacks and I also oversee the study rooms, so if I see people without masks on in there, I have to correct them,” Heil said.

He said he only has heard rumors of vaccinations for the next groups.

“It seems like they have been going for people 65 plus, they’ve been going for janitorial staff, facilities people and that sort of thing….it’s just odd they haven’t fully systematized it that way and then let us know what that system is,” he said.

Zurkuhlen said, as an essential worker, he’s grateful to be vaccinated before students return. Heil said his wife has pre-existing conditions, and hasn’t received any notifications.

“We’re all public facing as well so it makes sense that we would get it as some point, but we haven’t heard anything at all,” Heil said.

Both said they applaud the huge task of rolling out the vaccine, but ask for communication and collaboration.

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