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Update on Vaccine Planning and Distribution Process

January 15, 2021

To :The Caltech Community
From: Steve Atlee, Vaccine Working Group Chair and Deputy General Counsel
Date: January 15, 2021
Re: Update on Vaccine Planning and Distribution Process 

Caltech's health and medical care staff and the Institute's special response officers were invited this week to register to be vaccinated at a Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) clinic. Some individuals in this initial group of COVID-19 vaccine-eligible recipients have already received their first dose of the vaccine.

The rollout of vaccines to Caltech's health and medical care staff and special response officers is important. These employees have been essential to the Institute's pandemic response efforts. The health and medical staff have helped to ensure that all members of our campus community have reliable access to testing resources, whether as part of free symptomatic testing in the Student Wellness Services (SWS) clinic or at surveillance testing sites that have been operating on campus since November. The special response officers also oversee the intake process for individuals who test positive and need access to on-campus isolation space, and they provide care and after-hours response to individuals with medical concerns or questions.

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to this targeted group of health and medical care workers is in accordance with federal, state, and local public health officials' prioritization plans for allocating doses. These employees are part of the state's and county's Phase 1A tiers. This week the county decided to accelerate and expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine to health-care workers in all tiers within Phase 1A. This change comes in the light of a deeply troubling trend in infections across the county; this week, L.A. county health officials reported an average of 10 people testing positive every minute and one person dying every five minutes.

The county's current plan for vaccine distribution suggests that the majority of health care workers will have been offered their initial dose of a vaccine by the end of the month. Following that, the county expects to expand vaccination efforts between early February and March to include the Phase 1B group of eligible individuals; Phase 1B prioritizes people age 65 and older and essential workers in certain sectors, including education, who are reporting to onsite job locations. By late March, the county hopes to begin Phase 1C, which would include individuals 50 and older, and individuals 16 and older who have underlying health conditions that put them at risk of severe illness.

Caltech will continue to work closely with PPHD on the rollout of vaccines to our campus population as doses are available in these subsequent phases. The Institute also continues to prepare to directly administer the vaccine, in accordance with public health prioritization requirements, to members of our campus community. The Institute's application to be a community partner for vaccine distribution was submitted last week and is pending approval with the state.

We will continue to keep you informed of any new developments related to the Institute's vaccine allocation and distribution efforts. In addition, updates also will be posted to Caltech Together.