Campus COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Dear faculty, staff and students,
With COVID-19 vaccines being provided across the state and the nation, we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel to the pandemic. UIC and its academic health enterprise, UI Health, are committed to offering COVID-19 vaccines to the campus community as quickly and safely as possible to help control community spread. Our approach to vaccination is based on prioritization guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH).
Chicago continues to be in the first phase (1A) of the vaccine rollout which has focused on health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. UI Health has offered vaccinations to all health care workers and those who support the health care system, including faculty, staff, students and trainees in the health sciences colleges. Health care personnel includes all work classes that support the academic health enterprise structure and are not exclusively patient-facing roles.
UI Health has been able to quickly move through 1A tiers to offer vaccinations to over 20,000 UI Health and UIC health sciences staff, faculty, students and trainees. At this point we have provided over 8,000 vaccinations to those who have accepted the offer and are ready to offer vaccinations to those within the next phases of prioritization.
The University and UI Health are preparing for the next phase of vaccinations (1B). This phase may start as early as next week and focuses on individuals age 65 years and older, and non-health care frontline essential workers, including first responders, preK-12 education workers, childcare workers, grocery store employees and postal service workers. In Phase 1B, UI Health patients and other UIC faculty and staff 65 years and older will be offered the vaccine.
Individuals aged 16-64 years old with medical conditions that increase the risk for complications from COVID-19 infection, and other essential workers will be included in phase 1C. The State of Illinois has classified higher education workers in this group and the remainder of our UIC faculty and staff will be offered vaccination at that time. UIC undergraduate students who do not have underlying health conditions will be offered vaccination when distribution will be open to the general population.
It has been a month since we received our initial distribution of COVID vaccine. We are now ready to offer vaccine to those within phase 1B and anticipate moving quickly and safely to offering vaccine to those in phase 1C.
The goal of the UI Health vaccine operations team is to get vaccine off the shelf and into the arms of individuals within the community to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. As we move through upcoming vaccine distribution phases, anyone in the UIC community who qualifies for a vaccination will receive an email invitation to set up an appointment through Epic/MyChart, the patient electronic health record portal used by UI Health. You may choose to accept the invitation to schedule a vaccination appointment as soon as possible, or at any time in the future when you are ready.
We anticipate that vaccines will become more readily available as the federal government expands distribution. Please be assured that you will only receive an invitation to make an appointment for a vaccine if we are certain that we have ample vaccine available for distribution. We strongly encourage anyone who receives an invitation to schedule an appointment to do so for the health and well-being of our entire community.
As vaccine availability becomes broadly available across the country, employees and students may also choose to be vaccinated at other locations – including personal providers, county health departments and local pharmacies. Members of the UIC community located at other sites (Peoria, Rockford, Springfield, Quad Cities and Urbana) may receive a vaccine invitation and may choose to schedule vaccination appointment in Chicago or in their local communities as available. It is required that you receive the second dose of vaccine at the same location where you received your first dose.
As we work toward expanding vaccine distribution to additional groups on campus, we will host virtual town hall meetings to provide you with the most up-to-date vaccine news and information to make an informed decision about scheduling your vaccination. The vaccine will not be required; however, we are strongly encouraging everyone to consider vaccination when available to them. Data from clinical trials show evidence of high efficacy and safety. Updated vaccine FAQs will also be available soon on the UIC Coronavirus website.
The vaccine, although highly effective, is not 100% effective and may not protect against asymptomatic transmission. Therefore, everyone must continue to wear a mask, wash/sanitize hands often, and maintain physical distance until there is more broad community immunity from vaccination to prevent transmission. If you have any questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Barish, MD, MBA
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
Susan Bleasdale, MD
Acting Chief Quality Officer and Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control