SMU COVID-19 Vaccination Update

Dear SMU Community,

Welcome back to the Hilltop for the spring 2021 semester. Many of you have been asking when the COVID-19 vaccine will arrive on campus and how it will be distributed to our SMU community. It’s not here yet. SMU has requested allocations under the state’s first and second distribution phases but has not received confirmation of when we might receive our first allotment or how many doses to expect.

Last week, the state updated its ordering system, and the University made the required formal request through that process. Rest assured, when the vaccine does arrive, we’ll be ready. You may have noticed the large white tent near the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center that will serve as our campus Vaccination Site. We have our system in place and will follow state guidelines in making the vaccine available, beginning with the 1A phase designated for campus health care workers and police. Next, the 1B phase will prioritize people 65+ and/or those with underlying medical conditions who are directly on campus. Students who fit in this category are also included along with faculty and staff.

For more details on how it will work, check out the new vaccination page on the Mustang Strong website. You’ll soon find a survey to help determine your eligibility phase, as well as steps on how to register for and receive the vaccine when the time comes. It also contains answers to frequently asked questions you may have. A map is available to help you find the Vaccination Site and additional parking spaces if needed.

Please note, we will not be registering for or scheduling vaccination appointments until the vaccine arrives on campus. However, you can help our planning efforts by confirming that your contact information is up to date in SMU’s registry. The Health Center will be using your mobile number and SMU email for communications regarding your appointment. To update your information, go to, click on the Profile tile to review, and verify it. If incorrect, click ‘change number’ and make the necessary edits so that you can be sure to receive notifications about the vaccine.

While we hope to be offering the vaccines on campus in the near future, we encourage you to take advantage of the first opportunity to get it regardless of whether it is through SMU or another provider. Visit the Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations map for additional vaccination sites and availability.

Along with COVID-19 testing for students available through the Health Center, another quick and easy option for the next month is the Curative kiosk. It uses a self-administered oral swab to collect the test sample at no cost to SMU students, faculty, staff as well as the public. Appointments are required, and you will be asked to provide insurance. Testing is available seven days a week at the kiosk located near the Airline Parking structure at 6501 Airline Court. When you go for the test, scan the QR code on the sign to share your results with SMU.

Whether you’ve received the vaccine or are still waiting to get it, it’s important to continue with the healthy behaviors outlined in our Pledge to Protect. Mask up and Pony up to Stay Mustang Strong.


Randolph Jones

Executive Director, Dr. Bob Smith Health Center

If slots at SMU or MHS are closed or full, what other options are available to get the vaccine?

If you are eligible and can find the COVID-19 vaccine before it’s available at SMU or Methodist Health System, you should take advantage of your first opportunity to be vaccinated.

Below are some additional portals you may find helpful.

Note: FEMA is collaborating with participating counties to support vaccine super sites. The best way to register for these federal sites is through each county’s portal.

Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler

Texas Department of State Health Services (includes multiple county vaccination portals across the state)

Dallas County

Tarrant County

Collin County

Denton County

Ellis County

Johnson County

Kaufman County

Participating Hospitals/Pharmacies

UT Southwestern

Baylor Scott & White (requires you to make a free account if you’re not a patient)




Tom Thumb


Sam’s Club


Remember: Once you have received the vaccine, please remember to fill out the self-reporting tool – and keep it up to date if a second dose is required – on the Mustang Strong’s vaccine page. Your voluntary submission will help the University assess the quantity of vaccines SMU will request from the State of Texas for distribution when possible on our campus and may also help inform decisions about campus operational changes during the pandemic.

Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

All three of the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19. Getting vaccinated may also protect people around you, particularly those at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Taking the vaccine is the best opportunity to keep our professors, students and staff healthy as we work to reduce transmission of the deadly virus. It’s also the quickest way to return our University to its regular operations.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Per the Texas Department of Health and Human Services:

“Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make COVID-19 vaccines available. The new COVID-19 vaccines have been evaluated in tens of thousands of volunteers during clinical trials. The vaccines are only authorized for use if they are found to be safe.

Even though they found no safety issues during the clinical trials, CDC and other federal partners will continue to monitor the new vaccines. They watch out for serious side effects (or “adverse events”) using vaccine safety monitoring systems, like the new V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker app.

For the most up-to-date information, see the Vaccine Safety section of the CDC website.

To learn about CDC’s new vaccine safety monitoring system, see the V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker section of the CDC website.”

Will I be required to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

SMU is strongly encouraging but not requiring our campus community to get the COVID-19 vaccination. The University is an approved provider to make it as easy as possible for our employees and students to get the vaccine at no cost to them through the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center.

SMU recognizes that some individuals may choose not to get the vaccine for religious, health or personal reasons, but we expect that many will take this important preventive step to protect themselves and others on campus and their families at home. With a robust vaccination offering, in accordance with state guidelines, SMU will help the universal effort to bolster immunity and limit the spread of the coronavirus.

If I’ve already contracted COVID-19, should I plan on getting the vaccine?

From the CDC:

“Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, vaccine should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work.

Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.”

Should I consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant or lactating?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) all agree that:

Pregnant and lactating women who otherwise meet criteria for vaccination should be offered access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

This should be a shared decision among a woman, her care partner(s) and medical provider(s), based on individual risk factors and recognizing a current lack of data about the vaccines’ safety.

ACOG and SMFM recommend that COVID-19 vaccines not be withheld from pregnant women who meet criteria for vaccination. Patients should be counseled as above and a shared decision model used. You can review their recommendations here:

ACOG: Vaccinating Pregnant and Lactating Patients Against COVID-19

Is it okay to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have allergies?

While there have been reports of allergic-type reactions in a very small number of patients, the CDC says that people with allergies to certain foods, drugs, insects, latex and other common allergens can still get the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to injectables or other vaccines, be sure to discuss the COVID-19 vaccination with your doctor, who can evaluate you and assess your risk. The vaccine provider should observe you for 30 minutes rather than the routine 15 minutes after vaccination, and if you have an allergic reaction to the first shot, you may not receive the second.

The CDC says that at this time, anyone who has a severe allergy (such as anaphylaxis) to any of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccine ingredients should not get this vaccine.

SMU Plans for Primarily in-Person Fall 2021 Semester

Dear SMU community,

It is with high hopes that we enter 2021 expecting to move toward a primarily in-person fall semester at SMU. With the understanding that vaccinations for COVID-19 will be offered widely this spring, including on our own campus, we are planning to return to regular on-campus courses and activities by fall.

It is important to let you know of our goal so that prospective and current students and their families have the latest information to help them make important decisions about enrollment, housing, travel and other aspects of campus life. This information will also allow faculty and staff to move forward with essential preparations for academic schedules and campus activities.

While we are planning for a primarily in-person fall semester, we remain vigilant in our prevention and safety protocols on campus. We also will continue to carefully monitor health trends and create contingency plans so we are ready to meet any new challenges that might arise.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, we are optimistic and excited about welcoming new and returning Mustangs to the Hilltop this fall for the educational and on-campus experiences that exemplify SMU.


R. Gerald Turner

SMU COVID-19 Vaccination Plans

January 8, 2021

Dear SMU Community,

SMU has received approval from the state to be a COVID-19 vaccination provider for the campus community. Initial supplies allocated to our campus have not arrived yet but are expected in the near future. The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center will administer the vaccine in phases according to the state’s vaccination plan. The first phase (1A) allotment of a limited supply of doses is designated for campus health care workers and SMU police.

As SMU receives additional allotments, distribution to the campus community will follow the state’s 1B guidelines which prioritize both people who are 65 and older and/or who have at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk from COVID-19. This includes students, faculty and staff who fall into either category. SMU employees who were required to work on campus during the pandemic’s “essential workers only” operation last spring are eligible to receive the vaccine next in this phase of distribution.

State health officials have emphasized that no vaccine should be kept in reserve. The University will, therefore, make the vaccine available to next-level eligibility groups once the current phase has been served rather than allowing vaccines to expire.

Plans are in place to offer the vaccine to all faculty, staff, adjunct faculty and students as well as dependents of SMU employees and retirees as supplies become available. However, we encourage you to take advantage of the first opportunity to receive the vaccine regardless of whether it is through SMU or another provider. Check with your primary care physician or pharmacist or visit the Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations map for additional vaccination sites and availability.

More information on when the allotments will arrive on campus as well as how to register for the vaccine will be forthcoming. SMU strongly encourages every member of our campus community to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to stay Mustang Strong.


Dr. Randy Jones

Executive Director Health Services

Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, SMU