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Vaccine Information Update

February 19, 2021

To: The Campus Community
From: Steve Atlee, Vaccine Working Group Chair and Deputy General Counsel
Date: February 19, 2021
Re: Vaccine Information Update

The state, county, and city continue to make progress distributing COVID-19 vaccines. At the same time, the vaccine administration process has been hampered by issues of limited supply, weather interruptions, and weekly uncertainty and variability in the number of allocated doses. In our effort to keep the Caltech community informed about the Institute's planning efforts and ensure that eligible individuals have access to doses at the earliest point possible, the Vaccine Working Group provides the following information.

On-Campus Vaccine Distribution
While the Institute has been approved by the state to administer vaccines to eligible members of the campus community, Caltech has not yet received an allocation of vaccines. Given current supply limitations, we do not know when vaccines may become available to Caltech. We continue to work closely with city and county health officials and will inform the community as soon as we know more. 

Vaccine Prioritization and Eligibility
When Caltech does receive vaccines to administer, we will make doses available to members of the community in accordance with the state's prioritization guidelines and tiers. All authorized vaccine providers must adhere to the state's prioritized tiering. Currently, this allows vaccinations for healthcare workers, staff and residents of long-term care facilities, and individuals 65 years of age and older. 

If you are eligible to receive a vaccine and have not scheduled an appointment to do so, we encourage you to visit the City of Pasadena's registration site and the Los Angeles County Department of Health's vaccine site to identify available options for vaccination. Both portals provide access to and information on available appointments from public health agencies, local pharmacies, and other community health partners. Please note that you may need to check the sites regularly for updates and to find an open appointment slot.

Pending available supply, Los Angeles County officials have said that they intend to expand vaccine eligibility at county vaccination sites on March 1 to include essential workers in education and childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture services sectors. County public health officials have confirmed that all individuals working on campuses or employed in higher education should be eligible for vaccination. As such, we expect that instructors, staff, administrators, faculty, postdocs, and students who have a current paystub from Caltech will be able to sign up for a vaccination appointment in the County beginning on March 1. We are awaiting details from L.A. County, however, on the document verification requirements and criteria for the education sector overall. We do not expect that those students who are enrolled at Caltech, but are not actively working for the Institute, will be included at this time.   

Last week, the state also announced that it expects to expand vaccine prioritization categories beginning on March 15 to include individuals between 16-64 years of age who are disabled or at a high risk of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19, including those with cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other conditions. Details on the process for providing access to eligible individuals in this category is forthcoming.

Guidance for Individuals Who Have Been Vaccinated
As members of the Caltech community are vaccinated, we ask that you maintain your vaccination record in case those records are needed at a later date. The Vaccine Working Group will follow up soon with information on how those who are fully vaccinated may report their vaccination status to the Institute. This vaccination attestation will be used to inform the campus vaccine distribution planning process and will help ensure efficient and timely allocation of available doses to individuals who are still waiting for a vaccine. 

Vaccines are a critical, life-saving tool. However, they are only one of the preventative measures available to curb the spread of infection and, as such, it is imperative that we combine vaccinations with continuing compliance with the Institute's pandemic response measures. We will continue to require that all members of the community participate in the surveillance testing program and adhere to the Institute's face covering and physical distancing guidelines when working onsite, regardless of vaccination status.

Additional information and answers to frequently asked question on vaccines are available on the Caltech Together website.