The new Flashes Safe Eight and KSU’s expectations for vaccination

Ohio Department of Health infographic about Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccination.

Ethan Cohen Reporter

Kent State University published the Flashes Safe Eight March 1 that introduces COVID-19 vaccination as the eighth step.

The new step asks students to “Flash Your Arm” and get vaccinated when they qualify for it. Ohio’s phased vaccination program is currently in Phase 1B, meaning any Ohioan with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorder qualifies. While some students may fall into those categories, KSU understands many students still won’t have access to the vaccine.

“Vaccines will not be mandatory at this point while they’re under Emergency Use Authorization,” said Manfred van Dulmen, chair of the Pandemic Leadership Committee. At some point, we may revisit that, but for the time being, they will not be mandatory.” 

Emergency Use Authorization is granted by the Food and Drug Administration that allows public access to a product based on the best available evidence (as opposed to waiting for all the evidence needed for FDA approval). At this time, all three COVID-19 vaccines have received EUA, but none have gotten FDA approval.

Due to only having EUA, the vaccine can’t be mass-produced yet, so the supply isn’t high enough to be available for all Americans. When it comes to KSU receiving and administering the vaccine, van Dulmen said some of those decisions are outside of the university’s control and KSU isn’t sure when it could begin vaccinating.

“Our goal is to make sure that anybody who wants the vaccine can receive it and figuring out a plan for doing it in the best way for students, staff and faculty,” van Dulmen said.

If you live in Portage County and fall into Phase 1B, you can register for the vaccine scheduling list here. You can also register to receive information from the Portage County Health District regarding the COVID-19 vaccine here.

Ethan Cohen is a COVID-19 reporter. Contact him at [email protected].