BVU Distributes Excess COVID-19 Vaccines


Photo curtesy of BVU.

Autumn McClain, co-EIC

BVU distributed 150 Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to students, staff, faculty, and spouses/partners who qualified. BVU President Dr. Brian Lenzmeier was notified of the opportunity by BV Public Health on March 9th, working quickly to organize the distribution process for March 10th.

“We only had like four hours to find out if we could cover that many doses,” said Dr. Lenzmeier.

Melissa Butcher, BVU Director for Human Resources, said it was her responsibility to contact members of the BVU community to inform them of the opportunity.

“My role was the scheduling of it. I emailed those people who were eligible and asked if they were interested. I also notified them that they had to meet the CDC guidelines of being in a high-risk category,” said Butcher.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 10th, Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines were distributed in the BVU Sieben’s Fieldhouse. Staff reported the process was quick and efficient.

Suzette Radke (L) and Melissa Butcher (R)

Suzette Radke, Vice President of Finance & Administration at BVU, played a key role in organizing the distribution of vaccines on campus.

“President Lenzmeier called me that afternoon (March 9th) and said ‘Public health called, and we have until 4:30 PM to let them know if we can use the vaccines… The day of the vaccines, I had a great job of guiding everybody in line, and I say that excitedly because… everybody was so excited because they had this opportunity,” said Radke.

Dr. Ben Maas, Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Geology, was a recipient of one of the 150 vaccines distributed that day.

“I was very happy to get one… If you do get a chance to get the vaccine, get one. As we approach that 75% threshold for folks getting vaccinated, that will allow us to return back to life as normal… Decreasing mask guidelines and social distancing on campus,” said Dr. Maas.

With COVID-19 vaccines becoming more available, Dr. Lenzmeier is optimistic for Fall 2021.

“If we can get a high percentage of people vaccinated, that changes the conversation significantly… If we can get 80% of our community vaccinated, that takes away a lot of the need for things like plexiglass, things like keeping down numbers of visitors in rooms,” said Dr. Lenzmeier.

Melissa Butcher is keeping close tabs on the rate of vaccinations among staff and faculty.

“I’m keeping track of who has received a vaccine and who has not… For faculty and staff, I’d say about 50% have been vaccinated. Getting a majority of our campus community vaccinated will help us return back to pre-COVID times,” said Butcher.

Governor Kim Reynolds announced a hope to make vaccines available to everyone, regardless of risk category, by April 5, 2021. BVU hopes to distribute more COVID-19 vaccines in the future.

Radke, overwhelmed with emotion, gave her closing remark.

“I encourage people to get the vaccine. This has been a long year for everyone… be strong through the rest of the year, keep those masks on, and hopefully you’ll be interested in getting a shot when the time comes.