December 16, 2020

Arrival of COVID-19 Vaccine

Nurse administering COVID vaccine on colleague

This is an exciting day! The first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived at the UCI Health Medical Center in Orange at 9:30 this morning. We are proud to be among the very first to receive the vaccine in Orange County.

The shipment consisted of approximately 3,000 individual doses of the vaccine. The first doses were administered today, with the remainder administered tomorrow and after to front-line clinical staff who care for patients in high-risk settings or patients with unknown COVID-19 status.

We have been planning for this day for many weeks. The vaccine’s transportation and storage requirements presented a complex logistical challenge that called on the expertise of many of our experts in a number of fields, and I am grateful to Chad Lefteris, CEO of UCI Health, for directing this effort. We have established a leadership position in our region that is unmatched.

Healthcare workers and police escort COVID vaccines

We expect to receive additional shipments of vaccine in the weeks ahead. They will be administered in accordance with federal and state guidelines, starting with our healthcare workers who serve our patients. We do not know when we will receive sufficient vaccine to expand coverage to the general campus community. There is a UC systemwide group currently addressing the logistics for protecting our non-healthcare workers. Starting in January we will keep you informed of developments as they occur. Additional information may come from your personal medical provider.

The arrival of this vaccine does not mark the end of the pandemic, only the beginning of the end. The battle against COVID-19 is not over. It will not be over for some months still, not until sufficient numbers of us across the country have been vaccinated. Until that day, I urge everyone to continue wearing their face coverings, washing their hands and practicing social distancing. These simple, easy measures will go a long way toward keeping you healthy while the vaccine is rolled out in sufficient quantity.

This has been a challenging time for all of us, but especially for the extraordinary people of UCI Health. I am proud of their dedication, selflessness and talent, which keeps Orange County safe, and I am honored to be their colleague.

Chancellor Howard Gillman