Vaccination Begins at UCSF – A Watershed Moment in COVID-19 Pandemic

On a history-making day in the ongoing battle against the surging coronavirus pandemic, UC San Francisco began its first phase of vaccinations for its critical health care workforce, including both clinical and non-clinical employees whose work places them at highest risk of infection by COVID-19.

UCSF is among the first hospitals in California to receive the Pfizer vaccine to immunize its front-line employees working on site. With a limited initial supply of 975 doses delivered Wednesday and several thousand more on the way, the initial phases of vaccinations are being reserved for UCSF and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland employees who may be exposed to COVID-19 patients in emergency departments, acute care clinics, and some outpatient and inpatient units and clinics.

Support, facilities and environmental services staff in those areas, as well as select students who have patient interactions; residents and clinical fellows; and researchers studying COVID-19 also will be among the first members of the UCSF community to get vaccinations.

For some UCSF frontline workers treating or serving patients with COVID-19 since February, the mid-December delivery of vaccines was met with hope, relief and tears of happiness.

One of the first vaccine recipients was Jennifer Reid, MD, MS, a surgeon and trauma and critical care fellow at UCSF and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, who moved from Baltimore in August. This has been a difficult year for Reid: her father passed away a few months ago (not from COVID-19), and she is providing care at her home for her mother, who is receiving chemotherapy for cancer.

“When I found out I was getting the vaccine, I got very emotional,” Reid said, “because I’m always worried about bringing COVID home. It has been a terrible year as a provider, but it has only made me more resilient, and has made me a better caregiver for my patients.”

The First at UCSF to Receive the Vaccine

 
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man receives a COVID-19 vaccination shot

Dennis Hom, a patient support assistant at UCSF Medical Center, gets a COVID-19 shot from Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy. Photo by Susan Merrell

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woman scans a barcode on a COVID-19 vaccination shot held by a man

Alexandra Hilts-Horeczko (left), PharmD, and Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy, prepare a COVID-19 vaccine at the clinic offering the first inoculations for front-line UCSF workers on Dec. 16. Photo by Susan Merrell

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man receives COVID-19 vaccination shot

William Wyatt (right), an environmental services worker at UCSF, was the first person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 16 when UCSF began giving the inoculations to its front-line clinical and non-clinical workers whose positions place them at heightened risk of infection by COVID-19. Wyatt, who has worked at UCSF for more than 30 years, received the vaccine from Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy. Photo by Susan Merrell

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woman receives a COVID-19 vaccination shot

Jennifer Reid, MD, an ACGME/ABMS fellow in the Department of Surgery, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy. UCSF began vaccinating its clinical and non-clinical workers whose positions put them at increased risk of COVID-19 infection. Photo by Susan Merrell

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man receives a COVID-19 vaccination

Joseph Nidua, a patient services assistant in Hospitality Services, gets a COVID-19 shot on Dec. 16 as UCSF began distributing the vaccination to its front-line workers. Photo by Susan Merrell

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nurse receives a COVID-19 vaccination

Sue Cannon, RN, a nurse in the Neurointensive Care Unit at UCSF, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy. Cannon was one of the first to receive the inoculation at UCSF on Dec. 16 at a clinic at the Parnassus Heights campus. Photo by Susan Merrell

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woman receives COVID-29 vaccination

Reina Lopez, a patient support assistant in UCSF Hospitality Services, receives a COVID-19 shot on Dec. 16, the first day that UCSF distributed the vaccines to its front-line workers. Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy, was one of the people giving the vaccinations at the Parnassus Heights campus. Photo by Susan Merrell

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man receives a COVID-19 vaccination

Tomas Diaz, MD, a clinical fellow in the UCSF Department of Emergency Medicine, receives a COVID-19 vaccination on Dec. 16. Photo by Susan Merrell

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man receives a COVID-19 vaccination shot

Dennis Hom, a patient support assistant at UCSF Medical Center, gets a COVID-19 shot from Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy. Photo by Susan Merrell

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woman scans a barcode on a COVID-19 vaccination shot held by a man

Alexandra Hilts-Horeczko (left), PharmD, and Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy, prepare a COVID-19 vaccine at the clinic offering the first inoculations for front-line UCSF workers on Dec. 16. Photo by Susan Merrell

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man receives COVID-19 vaccination shot

William Wyatt (right), an environmental services worker at UCSF, was the first person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 16 when UCSF began giving the inoculations to its front-line clinical and non-clinical workers whose positions place them at heightened risk of infection by COVID-19. Wyatt, who has worked at UCSF for more than 30 years, received the vaccine from Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy. Photo by Susan Merrell

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woman receives a COVID-19 vaccination shot

Jennifer Reid, MD, an ACGME/ABMS fellow in the Department of Surgery, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy. UCSF began vaccinating its clinical and non-clinical workers whose positions put them at increased risk of COVID-19 infection. Photo by Susan Merrell

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man receives a COVID-19 vaccination

Joseph Nidua, a patient services assistant in Hospitality Services, gets a COVID-19 shot on Dec. 16 as UCSF began distributing the vaccination to its front-line workers. Photo by Susan Merrell

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nurse receives a COVID-19 vaccination

Sue Cannon, RN, a nurse in the Neurointensive Care Unit at UCSF, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy. Cannon was one of the first to receive the inoculation at UCSF on Dec. 16 at a clinic at the Parnassus Heights campus. Photo by Susan Merrell

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woman receives COVID-29 vaccination

Reina Lopez, a patient support assistant in UCSF Hospitality Services, receives a COVID-19 shot on Dec. 16, the first day that UCSF distributed the vaccines to its front-line workers. Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy, was one of the people giving the vaccinations at the Parnassus Heights campus. Photo by Susan Merrell

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man receives a COVID-19 vaccination

Tomas Diaz, MD, a clinical fellow in the UCSF Department of Emergency Medicine, receives a COVID-19 vaccination on Dec. 16. Photo by Susan Merrell

Image
man receives a COVID-19 vaccination shot

Dennis Hom, a patient support assistant at UCSF Medical Center, gets a COVID-19 shot from Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy. Photo by Susan Merrell

Image
woman scans a barcode on a COVID-19 vaccination shot held by a man

Alexandra Hilts-Horeczko (left), PharmD, and Matthew Aludino, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy, prepare a COVID-19 vaccine at the clinic offering the first inoculations for front-line UCSF workers on Dec. 16. Photo by Susan Merrell

“Even as the vaccine distribution expands, we must recognize the serious threat the coronavirus continues to pose to public health – especially at a time when community transmission, including in the Bay Area, is at an all-time high,” UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, said in a message to the UCSF community. “All of us, including those who have been vaccinated, must continue to adhere to public health orders. Despite the fatigue we all feel, we must stay vigilant in taking all appropriate steps to slow the pandemic.”

UCSF VACCINATION INFORMATION HUB

Find the latest information on what we know about the available vaccines and UCSF’s distribution plan.

Learn More

During later phases of UCSF’s vaccination program, vaccines will be offered to more UCSF health care workers, first responders such as UCSF Police officers, learners and researchers, based on their level of risk. UCSF is following the guidelines established by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) and the California Department of Public Health for prioritizing vaccinations to those most at risk of exposure to the virus.

Clinical trials have shown both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be safe and effective, and members of the UCSF community are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated when they become eligible.

As more doses are made available, high-risk UCSF patients, such as adults age 65 and older and those with chronic medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease, will be eligible for vaccination. Eventually, as the supply of vaccines becomes widely available, all members of the UCSF community will be offered the vaccines.

Arrival of the Historic Vaccine

 
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a box of COVID-19 vaccine vials

The first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations are prepared in a UCSF pharmacy for delivery to the UCSF Parnassus Heights campus, where front-line health workers received their shots on Dec. 16. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

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a pharmacy technician places the COVID-19 into a portable freezer

Richard Lyons, a UCSF pharmacy technician, places the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines into a freezer for transport to the UCSF Parnassus Heights campus vaccination site on Dec. 16. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

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worker in goggles gets ready to open box with vaccine in it

The first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived at UC San Francisco on Dec. 16. Robinson Abueg (center), the UCSF Pharmacy receiving manager, prepares to unpack the FedEx box packed with dry ice and the vaccinations. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

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worker opens a box with vaccines

Robinson Abueg, UCSF Pharmacy receiving manager, unpacks the a box with dry ice and the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations sent to UCSF. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

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a box of COVID-19 vaccine vials

The first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations arrived at UCSF on Dec. 16. The vaccine vials were first unpacked before being transferred to the location of the first clinic for inoculations. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

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vials of the COVID-19 vaccine

The first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations arrived at UCSF on Dec. 16. The vaccine vials were first unpacked before being transferred to the location of the first clinic for inoculations. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

Image
a box of COVID-19 vaccine vials

The first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations are prepared in a UCSF pharmacy for delivery to the UCSF Parnassus Heights campus, where front-line health workers received their shots on Dec. 16. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

Image
a pharmacy technician places the COVID-19 into a portable freezer

Richard Lyons, a UCSF pharmacy technician, places the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines into a freezer for transport to the UCSF Parnassus Heights campus vaccination site on Dec. 16. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

Image
worker in goggles gets ready to open box with vaccine in it

The first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived at UC San Francisco on Dec. 16. Robinson Abueg (center), the UCSF Pharmacy receiving manager, prepares to unpack the FedEx box packed with dry ice and the vaccinations. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

Image
worker opens a box with vaccines

Robinson Abueg, UCSF Pharmacy receiving manager, unpacks the a box with dry ice and the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations sent to UCSF. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

Image
a box of COVID-19 vaccine vials

The first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations arrived at UCSF on Dec. 16. The vaccine vials were first unpacked before being transferred to the location of the first clinic for inoculations. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

Image
vials of the COVID-19 vaccine

The first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations arrived at UCSF on Dec. 16. The vaccine vials were first unpacked before being transferred to the location of the first clinic for inoculations. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

Image
a box of COVID-19 vaccine vials

The first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations are prepared in a UCSF pharmacy for delivery to the UCSF Parnassus Heights campus, where front-line health workers received their shots on Dec. 16. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

Image
a pharmacy technician places the COVID-19 into a portable freezer

Richard Lyons, a UCSF pharmacy technician, places the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines into a freezer for transport to the UCSF Parnassus Heights campus vaccination site on Dec. 16. Photo by Maurice Ramirez

Between Pfizer’s vaccine and a similar one from Moderna that is expected to receive Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration soon, 40 million doses should be available for adults across the country by the end of the year.Both vaccines require two doses taken either 21 or 28 days apart. Pfizer has encouraged health systems to provide all of the initial vaccines as the first dose and will send the second doses at the appropriate time. Millions more doses will be available in January and thereafter.

In addition to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, several other vaccines are currently in clinical trials that are scheduled for completion in early 2021. Other vaccine trials have begun for children under 12 years old.