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Jan. 7, 2021 – Update on COVID-19 vaccines

Posted by on Thursday, January 7, 2021 in Community Messages.

Dear members of the Vanderbilt community,

Yesterday’s horrific assault on the U.S. Capitol and on our democracy continues to send shock waves across our country and around the world. These deeply disturbing events are in stark contrast to the progress and much-needed hope many of us are feeling this new year with the rollout of new vaccines designed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m writing today because I know many of you have had questions about the deployment of these vaccines and what it means for you.

Davidson County is currently in Phase 1a1 of the state’s distribution plan and is making its supply of the vaccine available to specified groups at its distribution sites. Vanderbilt University is currently not eligible to become a distribution site for the vaccine because we are not a health care organization. As this is an evolving situation, we remain in close communication with public health agencies and our Vanderbilt University Medical Center colleagues about vaccination efforts.

VUMC has begun to administer COVID-19 vaccine to its health system employees and to select School of Medicine and School of Nursing students who are exposed to its patients under the direction of the Tennessee Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. VUMC will also soon offer the vaccine to its patients who are 75 years of age or older and will contact those individuals through the My Health at Vanderbilt portal. University faculty and staff age 75 and older who receive care at VUMC should ensure that they have enrolled in My Health at Vanderbilt. VUMC will contact its eligible patients with more information as additional allotments of vaccine become available.

CDC data shows that Tennessee is among the top five states vaccinating the fastest. Please consult your home county’s or home country’s guidance for vaccine availability and eligibility in your area.

When you do become eligible to receive the vaccine, I strongly urge you to get it—not just to protect yourself, but to help achieve a broad level of immunity in an effort to control the spread of this virus.

As 2021 progresses, we will continue to see the rollout of these and additional vaccines. This is an unprecedented achievement in the history of medicine, and it is one in which scientists and clinicians at Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center played leading roles. The work of so many at Vanderbilt, spanning decades and multiple academic disciplines, underscores the power of our collaborative culture and our relentless pursuit of excellence. We should all be proud that Vanderbilt has contributed in such a meaningful way to finding a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel.

While it is gratifying to see so much hope on the horizon, for now we must redouble our efforts to protect each other according to our ongoing safety protocols. That means we must all continue to do our part—to wear face masks, to avoid gatherings and to practice physical distancing.

You have heard me say many times how tremendously proud I am of Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff, families, alumni and community partners who have kept our campus as safe as possible—and our educational mission thriving—throughout the past year. I cannot reiterate this message enough as we remain committed to our common purpose and we continue our journey together toward brighter days ahead.

Anchor Down, Step up, and stay connected. I look forward to being in touch again soon.


Daniel Diermeier