2/22 – Campus Vaccine Distribution Update

February 22, 2021

TO:      University Employees (Non-Keck Medicine)

FR:       Sarah Van Orman, MD, MMM, FACHA, Chief Health Officer, USC Student Health

            Division Chief for College Health, Keck School of Medicine of USC

RE:      Campus Vaccine Distribution Update

As you may know, LA County has announced that on March 1, the Group 1B Tier 1 eligibility pool will open to those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: education and childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture. This is in addition to previously open eligibility for individuals aged 65 and older, and Group 1A, health care workers.

The vaccine prioritization strategy for campus, summarized here, will guide the groups that are invited to make appointments. USC is prioritizing faculty and staff currently required to work on-site frequently and facing occupational risk. Starting March 1, those working on campus who are public-facing and working in close contact with others will be invited in first among the 1B category. When various employee groups are invited will depend upon vaccine availability and is subject to delay and change. It is likely to be several weeks before all USC eligible employees are able to be vaccinated.

The allocation of vaccine is not yet steadily predictable, and the vaccine dispensing is time sensitive. Appointments may be available with very short notice to your group—if you receive an invitation (by email to your USC account), we strongly encourage you to make the appointment immediately and commit to the two-dose schedule. Rescheduling a second dose impacts the efficiency of getting vaccinations to others in the community waiting for an invitation. If there are low responses to taking vaccine appointments from one department, we will quickly open up appointments to the next group.

Do’s and Don’ts

·         DO make an appointment if you are invited. Don’t hesitate to make the appointment because you think the dose should go to someone else. Every vaccination counts, and making your appointment quickly helps the efficiency of getting doses into arms.

·         DON’T wait for a more convenient time in your schedule; vaccine supply is not predictable, so waiting for a better time slot may mean a prolonged delay.

·         DON’T express immediate concern because you have not yet received an invitation. All employees and students will receive invitations as tiers are open and steady vaccine supply is established. If you believe your lab or group is eligible within the current tier, but has not received an invitation, please contact your divisional leadership to review the criteria for groups submitted for review to Environmental Health and Safety. 

·         DO follow announcements from LA County Dept. of Public Health and the City of Los Angeles for openings of mass vaccination sites, appointments, and eligibility verification that is required (work ID, paystub, etc.). Education, childcare, emergency services, food and agriculture workers are eligible to make appointments at the public vaccination sites beginning March 1.

·         DON’T forward the USC invitation to other individuals.

·         DO encourage others in your work group to get vaccinated, and to keep taking COVID-19 safety precautions (physical distancing, masks, hand hygiene, avoiding gatherings and eating together, limiting travel) even after being vaccinated.

·         DO learn the facts about vaccine efficacy and safety, and help debunk myths and inaccurate information.

·         DO submit your records of COVID-19 vaccinations (after each dose) if you have received them through a different resource, so campus invitations can be extended to others. If you do not intend to take the vaccine, please complete a declination (Note: declinations forms are no longer accepted, as of revised university policy dated June 29).

The overall goal is to vaccinate as many individuals as quickly as possible, within the tiers currently permitted by the State of California and LA County. We look forward to working with you as we move our campus and our region closer to ending the pandemic.

Additional questions may be directed to the COVID-19 hotline, 213-740-6291, covid19@usc.edu.