Vaccine Task Force
The UC Berkeley COVID-19 Task Force, formed December 2020, has the challenging task of interpreting continually evolving guidance and requirements from UCOP, the state of California, and the CDC and applying the guidance in an equitable and transparent way, while also ensuring that vaccine is used as soon as it is received and no doses are wasted. The campus is informed each week whether and how much vaccine supply it will receive the following week from UCOP.
The prioritization team, which includes clinicians, students, researchers, a bioethicist and others, is grappling with questions ranging from the philosophical to the logistical. What role does UC Berkeley play in vaccine distribution? Is it as an employer of faculty and staff? As a health care provider of students? As a community partner using its resources to bolster the local vaccination program? The answer is probably all of the above, but how these roles are prioritized will have far-reaching implications for who gets vaccinated and when. The campus is committed to distributing its vaccine allocation ethically, safely, and expeditiously.
The operations team faces a similarly monumental task: planning and preparing and being ready to administer an unknown number and type of vaccine each week, safely, while complying with a slew of evolving regulatory requirements and logistical challenges, and in the setting of an unreliable supply chain. All of course in the setting of a pandemic response that includes the care of COVID patients, testing thousands of people weekly, and contact tracing and containing emerging clusters. But we are and will continue to be ready!
As a relatively simple example: UHS started working on acquiring all types of storage containers for various vaccine types in November, at a time when everyone was doing the same, and before any vaccines were approved. Through a great deal of effort, we currently have both ultra-low (-80) and regular (-20) medical grade freezers, as well as vaccine refrigerators, all on 24/7 continuous temperature monitors that will alarm the vaccine team immediately if the temperature falls outside the range required for vaccine storage. And all locked in secure spaces with keycard access.