Dear USC Community,
This week, we witnessed a major milestone. Keck Medical Center of USC and USC Verdugo Hills Hospital received their first shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, and we immediately began inoculating hospital workers most at risk for infection.
The process of securing, storing and distributing the approximately 2,500 doses of the vaccine was a multi-disciplinary team effort across Keck Medicine of USC and the University. The team worked around the clock to ensure an evidence-based strategy to administer the vaccine in accordance with government guidelines.
This accomplishment represents a significant turning point in the pandemic, and is cause for celebration. We are grateful for all of those involved in this tremendous undertaking.
This initial roll out is just the first step as we look ahead to future vaccine shipments. The working group that I chair is developing a comprehensive distribution plan for staff, faculty, students and patients – as well as the remainder of our health care workers – as soon as we begin receiving a critical mass of doses.
The University is finalizing its vaccination policy and prioritization principles based on federal, state and local guidelines, which we expect to publish in January. In the meantime, I can tell you that the University will strongly recommend that its faculty, staff and students get vaccinated as soon as doses become available for their risk group. Taking a COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others. Full details are forthcoming, but if you have questions about these vaccines, the Keck Medicine of USC website offers a detailed list of FAQs based on what we know so far.
You can also see videos on how Keck Medicine is handling the roll out of the vaccine and why health care workers are choosing to be vaccinated as well as other vaccine-related videos here.
The arrival of vaccines is certainly a positive development, but it is important to recognize that we are in an extremely dangerous period and must remain as vigilant as ever in adhering to physical distancing and PPE guidelines.
Thank you all for the resilience you continue to show in the face of an incredible challenge as we enter a new era of hope. We look forward to further tackling this pandemic together.
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Keck Medicine of USC