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On December 22, 2020, UC San Diego Health received its first shipment of 5,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19. This shipment follows receipt on December 15 of the first 2,925 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Inoculations using the Pfizer vaccine began December 16 and are on-going. The Moderna vaccine will be incorporated into UC San Diego Health’s vaccine distribution program.
That program follows guidance from the CDC’s COVID-19 Taskforce and other entities, including the UC Health Coordinating Committee Bioethics Working Group. Distribution is scheduled by tiers, beginning with health care workers at greatest risk of infection.
At UC San Diego Health, this tier encompasses all 9,049 front-facing inpatient and ambulatory staff, such as residents, fellows, other trainees, environmental, health and safety workers, nurses, doctors, technicians, pharmacists and hospital-based physicians in the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit and operating room venues, followed by all non-patient-facing employees.
Subsequent tiers are under discussion and development by public health authorities.
We hope to soon vaccinate up to 500 UC San Diego Health team members per day, including weekends and complete vaccination of all 9,049 staff in the first tier over the next three weeks, contingent upon continuing vaccine shipments from Pfizer and Moderna.
“With two vaccines in hand, we can redouble our efforts to provide protection from infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” said Patty Maysent, CEO, UC San Diego Health. “These are still early days, however. We must continue to mask, distance, wash our hands and follow all public health measures until everyone has been offered the chance to vaccinate and we have gained significant immunity. That day will come. This day is a big step toward it.”
Like the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine is based upon mRNA technology. It represents only the second such vaccine to be approved for human use, under a U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization. The Moderna vaccine also requires two injections for full efficacy, spaced 28 days apart. Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, it does not require ultra-low storage temperatures.