COVID-19 vaccine update

January 19, 2021
Kim A. Wilcox
January 19, 2021

Dear Campus Community:

As we previously announced, UCR Student Health Services received 100 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine last week to inoculate front-line healthcare employees as well as some of our co-workers who we require at this point to have in-person contact with students or other employees.

Today UCR Health will receive an allocation of doses to finalize vaccination of healthcare workers, and expand immunization of essential employees who are required to physically be in University-controlled space to perform their duties. As we shared early last week, we are strictly adhering to the California Department of Public Health prioritization protocol, which was modified by a statement from Governor Newsom to include all California Seniors 65+.

While we will not yet know how many doses we will receive, once we have vaccinated those in Phase 1a who wish to be vaccinated, we will begin the next phase of our vaccination plan for UCR employees and graduate students who are in Phase 1b as well as UCR Health patients who are 65 or older and those patients with specific underlying medical conditions. UCR’s vaccine doses will be reserved for those employees whose work must be physically performed on campus and who have received approval to do so.

Some have asked whether “education” sector category listed on the California Prioritization list is a blanket inclusion of anyone who works in education. The California Department of Public Health clarifies that the group includes only “[t]hose at risk of exposure.” Individuals who have the option of working remotely are not included in this group.

We anticipate that most of our employees and students will be vaccinated by their healthcare providers. I encourage everyone to avail themselves of any vaccine that is available to them, whether through county vaccination clinics, personal physicians, or local pharmacies. Accelerated vaccination will allow public health restrictions to subside sooner and normal societal functions to resume.

At the same time, we support efforts to prioritize those with the highest risk of severe illness or death while not letting any doses go unused. If you are offered a vaccine and are not in a vulnerable population (under age 65 without health conditions that increase risk of severe disease as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), please be mindful of others who may need that protection more urgently.

Stories from other states and counties of inequity in vaccine distribution are disheartening. I’ve been proud of how we’ve cared for each other through these ten difficult months. Whether through our own resources or your respective primary care providers, we will do our part to ensure vaccines are available to all who need them but must first care for the most vulnerable among us.

We will continue to provide updates on vaccine rollout as details become available. I appreciate your commitment to our community and encourage you to continue wearing masks, physical distancing, and observing diligent hand hygiene.