Dear College of Medicine Community:
The rollout across the country for the COVID-19 vaccine has begun. On Tuesday, Dr. Marina Del Rios, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine with the College, was among the first healthcare workers in the state to receive the coronavirus vaccine at an event hosted by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health.
There is a tremendous amount of activity that is concentrated around getting the vaccination process started. And it’s all coming together quickly and evolving on a daily basis.
In Illinois, the vaccination program is managed by the local health care organizations associated with each College of Medicine campus based on guidelines received from CDC, IDPH and each campus’s local health department.
Specified health care workers are among the first to receive the vaccine. The central college’s administration broadly and each regional dean is working closely with affiliated health systems to make sure students get vaccinated at the appropriate time according to the clinical and educational settings in which they are learning.
Information is changing constantly, and we understand the stress that this uncertainty brings. Given the amount of vaccine the health systems will receive, we are confident all who want to receive the vaccine will be able to be vaccinated within the next few months.
The complexities and risks for those working in the research setting will also be reflected in the vaccination program. Clinical and laboratory researchers engaged in COVID-19 research will be vaccinated in the earlier groups and researchers performing non-COVID-19 clinical research vaccinated in later groups. Those engaged in non-COVID-19 laboratory research will be eligible for vaccination with the broader group in the health science colleges.
Even after receiving the vaccination, the current protocols on use of PPE and on maintaining physical distance should be followed until further notice. This requirement is primarily due to a lack of scientific information on whether vaccinated individuals can be infected with COVID-19 and if yes, how long will those individuals remain infectious. Moreover, some individuals may decline to be vaccinated and, therefore, to ensure their safety, it is essential that all of us adhere to the current COVID-19 safety protocols.
For clinical faculty, staff, and trainees at University of Illinois Hospital (UIH): By now, many UIH clinical faculty, staff and trainees have received an email from My Chart for with an activation Code to register for the COVID-19 vaccine through University Health Services using the UI Health My Chart platform. Please fill out this registration form at your earliest convenience as the vaccine for those working at UIH will be distributed through this portal. All those who have registered will “receive a separate COVID-19 vaccine invitation when your vaccination order is placed in Epic. Your personal COVID-19 Vaccination invitation/email will include all the information needed to schedule your appointment.”
We wish all of you a Happy Holiday Season.
Mark I. Rosenblatt, MD, PhD, MBA, MHA
Bellur S. Prabhakar, MSc, PhD
Interim Senior Associate Dean for Research