UC Berkeley continues to vaccinate community members as eligibility expands

Photo of UC Berkeley employee holding a vial of a COVID-19 vaccine
Matt Gibson/File
Given COVID-19 vaccination eligibility criteria increasing throughout California, UC Berkeley continues to provide students and faculty with vaccinations. According to University Health Services spokesperson Tami Cate, vaccinations will be a significant role toward campus' ability to hold in-person instruction.

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As COVID-19 vaccine eligibility broadens across the state, campus is continuing to provide vaccinations to students and faculty members who fit the expanding criteria.  

This immunization effort, which started in early January, is spearheaded by University Health Services, or UHS. As of press time, 4,436 people have received their first vaccines and 3,452 have been fully vaccinated through UHS, according to UHS spokesperson Tami Cate.

“As we get more vaccines, the distribution efforts will open up to more students based on this expanded criteria,” Cate said in an email. “We typically know a week in advance if and how much vaccine we get and then we open up those number of appointments based on vaccine availability.”

While it remains unclear whether or not UC Berkeley will continue to receive vaccines following the shift to county-based vaccination programs, Cate added that UHS will continue to advocate for a “central role” in efforts to immunize campus members.

According to Cate, UHS is hopeful that the city of Berkeley will provide it with a consistent share of vaccines in the next few weeks.

“We will be working closely with our Student COVID-19 Advisory Group to help plan the next stages, focusing on communities at risk,” Cate said in the email.

To keep the UC Berkeley community informed, UHS has created a series of dashboards providing the numbers of its various COVID-19 response operations. Among them is the immunization dashboard, where students and faculty members can check daily to see the number of people that have been vaccinated through UHS.

Cate added that this week, UHS is continuing to provide vaccines to students older than 50 and those with underlying and high-risk medical conditions.

“(The immunization dashboard) is another view of our COVID-19 response efforts and it is important for the UCB community to know how we are doing with respect to our COVID-19 response and vaccines/immunizations are the latest part of this response,” Cate said in the email.

Campus senior Abigail Jaquez is one of the students able to get their vaccine through UHS. As a student health ambassador, she was notified of her eligibility and followed instructions from UHS on how to receive her vaccinations, Jaquez said. She said she will be fully vaccinated by Friday.

According to Jaquez, she was pleased to get the vaccine but felt that there was no “end in sight.” A year into the pandemic, the question of returning to in-person instruction remains complicated.

Cate noted that vaccination efforts will play a key role in campus’ ability to resume in-person instruction.

“The campus plans assume that by the start of the fall semester there will be widespread availability of vaccines and few to no new daily cases within our campus community,” Cate said in the email.

Contact Kelly Suth at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @kellyannesuth.