Vaccines for COVID-19

Vaccines for COVID-19

Updated: January 11, 2021

Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 begins shortly on campus!  The first shipment of vaccine (Moderna) is slated to arrive at UHS tomorrow, with planning in process to vaccinate all Phase 1a UC  Berkeley staff, students, and faculty who are interested within the next 2 weeks.  The UCB COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force is now beginning planning and preparation for Phase 1b, which is expected to include many more frontline staff at high risk of exposure as well as UC Berkeley faculty, staff, students, and emeriti ages 75 and over.  Much remains fluid: vaccine (both type and quantity) is allocated to us from UCOP on a rolling basis one week at a time, prioritization guidance and requirements evolve daily, and we have a lot to learn still about this vaccine - but we are ready. 


Frequently Asked Questions

How is campus planning for vaccine distribution?

The campus COVID-19 Vaccine Task-force, convened in December, is dedicated to ensuring that UCB is well-positioned to meet and exceed vaccination targets for the UCB community.  We meet weekly to review and adapt evolving guidance from public health and UC partners, address supply chain and organization challenges, and operationalize vaccine clinics.   Initial clinics will be held at UHS; once we have more experience with this vaccine and supply increases, we expect to move into a larger site, however significant cold chain and regulatory requirements, as well as infection control concerns, preclude multiple pop-up vaccine clinics.

Will the vaccine be mandatory for any portion of the campus population?

At this time, COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged, to ensure protection for our staff and those we serve, but they are not required.  This may change in the future.

When is the campus getting the vaccine?

UHS received its first allocation of vaccine from UCOP/CDPH on January 12th; this has specifically been supplied for Phase 1a (healthcare personnel at risk of exposure).  The campus’ vaccine supply is expected to be delivered on a rolling basis from here on, as allocated by the California Department of Health (CDPH)  and distributed through the University of California “Multicounty Entity.” 

How much vaccine is the campus getting?

UCB has been preparing and advocating strongly in order to take a leadership role in vaccine provision for anyone within the UCB community as they become eligible, according to the state distribution plan, however, the full scope of UCB (and the UC system) role in vaccination remains TBD, and will determine the total # doses distributed.  In addition, the timeline will depend heavily on vaccine supply.  We do expect that vaccines will be more widely available by the summer, but how quickly we will be able to move through the phases is TBD.  UHS will learn how much vaccine will be arriving less than one week in advance.

Who will be getting the vaccine, how will it be phased?

UCB will be following the plan developed by the UC Office of the President, which is based on state and CDC guidance, however the UCB Task Force is committed to interpreting and applying this plan in an equitable, transparent way that considers the incredible diversity of roles and risks within the campus population.  Details will be posted as they are confirmed on this document.

Please note that the federal/state plan is in tandem distributing through other multicounty healthcare providers including Kaiser, Sutter, CVS, and Walgreens, as well as through pop-up/public health clinics; many campus employees (for example, those with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk for severe disease) may be able to receive COVID-19 vaccination sooner through these settings, and should not hesitate to do so.  We expect that by the spring/summer, vaccines will be widely available through most healthcare providers.

What kind of vaccine will the campus be getting?

While our first shipment is the Moderna vaccine, we are prepared to receive both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in the short-term and will expand capacity and methodology as other vaccines are approved and available. 

How will the vaccine be distributed?

Vaccinations will, at least initially, be provided only at the Tang Center.  “Cold chain” (storage), security, and safety requirements limit the potential for satellite vaccination events although we are actively preparing for procision a larger site should our scope require it.  As per above, campus individuals will be contacted and offered vaccinations in alignment with CDC, state, and local guidance on priority vaccination groups.

What is the cost of the vaccine?

The early distributions are being funded by the government, with no out-of-pocket expense to those that receive the vaccine.

Will SHIP cover the cost of vaccines?

Yes, it appears that the COVID vaccines should be fully covered by health insurance plans.  In this case, UHS will bill SHIP directly for vaccinations obtained at Tang.  The early phase of vaccine distribution is funded by the federal government.

Is campus going to pay for vaccinations?

Cost of the initial phase of vaccination (essential workers at higher risk for COVID-19) will be covered by a combination of the federal government, occupational health, and insurance funding.  Our understanding from federal regulations is that health care plans are required to pay fully for COVID vaccinations, and there is no out-of-pocket expense to individuals.  In some cases UHS will be able to obtain payment directly from health plans, such as SHIP; in other cases, individuals will be able to submit to their health plans for reimbursement of the expense.  If a student experiences a problem getting reimbursed from a health plan, the SHIP office is available to help.

How can I get a vaccine from University Health Services?

Campus individuals will be contacted and offered vaccinations in alignment with CDC and county guidance on priority vaccination groups.  If/when you are identified as a priority group, you will receive email instructions on how to make an appointment for vaccination with UHS at Tang.  We will also update this website as the distribution progresses.