COVID-19 vaccinations start at CWRU

Shreyas Banerjee, A&E Editor

Case Western Reserve University started distributing vaccines to eligible populations on Thursday, March 4. After completing an application to be a vaccination site in 2020, the university was approved by the state government in early January. 

Nearly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the nation and shut down college campuses, these vaccines come at a time when positive test results have been plateauing and falling across the nation, broadcasting hope for all. 

Members of CWRU’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team have been trained to vaccinate members of the general public over the past few weeks and a call went out on Feb. 26 from the Center of Civic Engagement and Learning (CCEL) asking for student volunteers to help with the process. Currently, the university is only in possession of the Pfizer vaccine, though this might change as vaccine supplies become more available. 

Vaccinations will take place in the Horsburgh Gymnasium of the Veale Recreation Center. Currently, only those eligible by state guidelines can receive the vaccine, and the site will be open for all those in the Cleveland area to utilize, so expect a heavier presence from the public in Veale in the coming weeks.

Read more in interim President Scott Cowen’s statement:

We are pleased to announce today that we are partnering with Cleveland health officials to begin distributing COVID-19 vaccines to eligible city residents starting this week.

As you may recall, the university secured approval to operate a vaccine site early in January, but since that time, available doses have gone only to hospitals, public health agencies and, more recently, pharmacies. But when thousands more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech SE vaccine began arriving in Ohio late last month, Cleveland officials agreed to allow us to administer those doses.

To be eligible for vaccinations, individuals must:

  • live in Cleveland and be 60 or older or have significant medical conditions (such as cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia—see the full list); or
  • live in Cleveland and work in such functions as law enforcement, firefighting, child care, or funeral arrangements; or
  • serve Cleveland and work in such functions as law enforcement, firefighting, child care, or funeral arrangements.

To learn more about Ohio’s criteria for Phase 1C and Phase 2, please visit the state’s coronavirus website

We are grateful to the city of Cleveland for this opportunity to contribute to the health and well-being of our surrounding community, as well as for its earlier assistance in securing vaccinations for several hundred members of our campus community who met Phase 1A definitions.

We also appreciate that many more of you are eager to be vaccinated as soon as possible, and will continue to update the campus community regarding eligibility developments—as well as vaccination opportunities throughout Northeast Ohio. 

Ohio is scheduled to receive nearly 450,000 vaccine doses this week—more than ever before in this process. The record amount comes in part because 96,000 doses of the recently authorized Johnson & Johnson vaccine will arrive in the state for the first time. This trend represents a triumph of science, and should give hope to us all.

All those eligible to receive a vaccine can register for an appointment at