Update 4/3/2021: This article has been updated for proper sourcing.
The eligibility to get vaccinated through UCI Health was extended to UCI education employees by email invitation from UCI Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Hal S. Stern on Feb. 19.
“The fight against COVID-19 is advancing, with vaccine production ramping up and more people immunized,” Stern wrote in an email sent on Feb 19. “Nearly 58 million Americans have received at least one dose and most experts believe the vaccine will be readily available to all communities by summer’s end, giving us optimism about the possibility of a more traditional college experience, including a return to primarily in-person instruction, in the fall.”
UCI Health announced on March 8 that they will be vaccinating people who are eligible within Phase 1A as the vaccine becomes available.
According to Stern, “UCI Health has delivered nearly 41,000 doses to those who qualify under the initial phases of Orange County’s vaccination program so far. The groups that are eligible to be vaccinated are critical and healthcare workers, such as psychiatric hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and paramedics, and individuals who are 65 years of age and older.”
Phase 1B has now gone into effect as more vaccines became available. Phase 1B, Tier 1 includes those who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 due to their jobs, such as individuals working in education, childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture.
On March 15, vaccines became available to individuals who are of 16 to 64 years of age with underlying medical conditions and are deemed to be at very high risk for mortality from COVID-19. Such medical conditions include cancer, kidney disease, down syndrome, pregnancy and heart conditions.
“Please do not wait to receive your vaccine at UCI. We remain ready to continue administering vaccines in Irvine and Orange, contingent on available supply, but there is considerable uncertainty about how vaccines will be distributed in the future,” Stern said. “The state plans to move from a county-based network to a state-wide approach administered by Blue Shield of California. We expect to be included in the vaccination program determined by government officials, but we don’t have solid guidance and plans change frequently.”
Currently, UCI Health’s primary COVID-19 vaccination location is the UCI Bren Events Center on the UCI campus. UCI Health patients may schedule an appointment through the MyChart Patient Portal. Questions are to be submitted to email@example.com.
Jamie Luke is a Campus News Intern for the Winter 2021 Quarter. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org