Vaccine Rollout

In January, Tulane University began administering the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to faculty, staff and students eligible under Louisiana Department of Health guidelines.

About 50 Tulanians were vaccinated on the first day at the J. Bennett Johnston Building, said Joe Esneault, chief clinical data officer for Tulane University Medical Group. In the upcoming days, hundreds more were vaccinated, with second doses following in three weeks.

“It has a little bit of a historic feel because so many people had a terrible year.”

DR. MARIUS COMMODORE, Campus Health medical director

The first dose went to physician Marius Commodore, MD, whose work as the medical director of Tulane Campus Health puts him in close contact with infected students.

“It has a little bit of a historic feel because so many people had a terrible year,” Commodore said of being in the first wave of vaccinations.

Physicians, nurses and other frontline healthcare workers who work at Tulane hospitals received the Pfizer vaccine starting in December. In January, the state expanded eligibility for faculty, staff and students of allied health schools who work with others in the New Orleans community. Based on those guidelines, Tulane initially vaccinated faculty, staff and students of the schools of Medicine, Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and Social Work; Campus Health staff; and frontline food service and custodial/operations staff, as well as employees over 70 years of age. 

“As the largest private employer in New Orleans, allowing us to participate in the distribution of the vaccine helps to make the entire community safer,” said Tulane President Michael Fitts.