As the COVID-19 vaccines are quickly rolling out all over the country, there are also becoming readily available for not only the students at the University of Tennessee but the student-athletes, coaching staff, and support staff as well.
Associate athletic trainer, Naoki Negishi says that their ultimate goal is to protect all student-athletes, coaches, and the supporting staff in the entire athletic department. After distributing the vaccine, they will be able to provide everyone a safer environment. There will be two vaccine options, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is provided by the university’s Student Health Center and the Moderna vaccine that will be provided by the Knoxville Health Department.
Although the majority of the athletic department will be receiving the vaccine, COVID-19 protocols will mostly remain the same. There will still be daily screenings, mask-wearing, and testing at least once a week.
However, after being vaccinated, you will no longer have to enter the quarantine pool. Therefore, student-athletes will no longer have to be suspended from practice or competition due to COVID-19 issues.
The university will be distributing the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine by appointment starting Thursday, April 1. This is due to Knox County approving vaccinations to ages 16 and up, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only approved for emergency use in people age 18 and older. Therefore, you must be 18 or older to make an appointment.
With vaccines being distributed this gives hope that maybe things can return to normal in the near future. Negishi expresses this hope by saying, “hopefully we can get over the pandemic soon. And this vaccine can be a game-changer.”