February 3, 2021
Dear Members of Our Campus Community:
I am writing to provide our UC Santa Barbara community with an update on our campus’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Earlier communications on vaccine administration were sent to our community on January 7 and January 15. Given the importance and ever-evolving nature of this issue, we plan to communicate with you over the coming weeks with further developments in our vaccine program. We have also added a vaccine information page to our campus COVID-19 information website, at https://www.ucsb.edu/COVID-19-information/vaccine.
Vaccines Administered To Date
Our campus medical experts, Student Health Services, and vaccination team, working closely with and under the strict guidance of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD), have been fortunate to be able to offer vaccines to our healthcare workers and staff, including those who are involved in COVID-19 testing and assisting with our vaccination efforts; our custodial teams in Student Health and in quarantine/isolation housing; individuals in our testing laboratory who are working directly with test samples; and those who are supporting our students in the isolation/quarantine facilities that our University is providing at no cost to our students, whether they live on or off campus. With authorization from the County Public Health Department, we also have administered the first dose of the Moderna vaccine to a significant percentage of our active staff and faculty who are over the age of 75, with remaining doses allowed for those over the age of 65.
We have administered our vaccines with the approval of the SBCPHD, and with strict adherence to all protocols and guidelines. Additionally, each has been meticulously entered into the State’s vaccine database.
Because of the expertise of our medical team and faculty researchers, a dedicated community of staff, students and volunteers, and the specialized facilities on our campus, UC Santa Barbara is well-positioned to support the SBCPHD vaccination efforts. We are deeply grateful to everyone on our campus and at the SBCPHD who has contributed to these efforts to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our campus community and the greater Santa Barbara area. Every campus community member we are able to vaccinate increases the protection of the greater Santa Barbara community, and reduces the burden on our health care partners in Santa Barbara County.
Limited Vaccine Supply
Vaccine supplies in the County and the State remain extremely limited at this time. The University is working with the SBCPHD to acquire and administer as many vaccines as quickly, efficiently, and equitably as possible.
This week, we received second doses of the Moderna vaccine. Our vaccination team will directly contact those campus community members who have already received their first dose in order to schedule appointments for the second dose. If our campus receives additional vaccines, we will be allowed to offer them only to active staff and faculty members over the age of 75, as required by the SBCPHD. We regret that at this time we are unable to vaccinate our emeriti faculty and retired staff colleagues, and we encourage them to seek vaccination from their community healthcare providers if possible. If you have questions regarding campus COVID-19 vaccines, please visit https://www.ucsb.edu/COVID-19-information/vaccine or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I would also be glad to hear from you directly with your thoughts and concerns at email@example.com.
We all care about the health and safety of every campus community member, and we regret that the vaccine supply and guidelines limit our ability to provide vaccinations more broadly. However, our campus is prepared to administer vaccines to much larger segments of our campus population if more vaccines are made available and we are authorized to do so. In the meantime, we continue to offer COVID-19 testing at no charge to all of our students living on campus and in the community, including Isla Vista, and to eligible staff and faculty colleagues who are coming to campus.
Currently, each UC campus’s vaccination program is subject to guidelines and protocols determined by their local counties, the California Department of Public Health, and UC systemwide policies. Campus approaches throughout the UC system will differ based on local public health guidelines, in our case those set by the SBCPHD.
We expect the vaccine guidelines to continue to evolve in the coming days and weeks. The recent announcement that a third-party provider, Blue Shield of California, will oversee distribution of the vaccine may significantly impact the current guidelines. If changes in the national manufacture and distribution of vaccines increases vaccine availability, we are ready to serve our campus and community. We are meeting throughout the week with the SBCPHD and with our colleagues in the medical centers and at UCOP to advocate for our community and to receive the latest updates on vaccine developments.
Our medical experts, vaccine team, and I are committed to keeping our community informed and up to date on our campus progress, and on any developments related to the availability of vaccines for our campus community.
Again, we so appreciate all those who are working so hard to provide testing and vaccination services to our community. We have been fortunate to be able to provide critical services that help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I will continue to keep our campus community informed as our vaccination efforts progress. And while we await greater access to vaccines, please stay healthy and safe by wearing your mask, physically distancing from others, and following all public health guidelines. Take good care of yourselves and each other!
Henry T. Yang