Dec. 21, 2020
Dear Members of the Baylor College of Medicine Community:
It should come as a surprise to no one that the large-scale distribution of vaccine across the U.S., perhaps the greatest peacetime mobilization since WWII, is a complex endeavor. Our available information changes daily. There is much we do not know, and much we cannot know at this point. Circulating rumor and generally well-intended but often inaccurate social media postings only add to the confusion.
For the Baylor community: please look to this communication, in this format, as your source of reliable information. If something is unclear, or your question is not answered, email it to email@example.com and we will make every attempt to get back to you within 24 hours.
As a general statement, Baylor leadership is committed to vaccinating all faculty, staff, residents, fellows, students, etc., recognizing we have two important constraints: 1) supply of vaccine, and 2) state mandates on how vaccine may be legally distributed. Here is what we know as of today:
What are the recent developments?
- As of last week (and still as of this writing) the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has limited our administration to “Phase 1A Health Care Workers.” Phase 1A was divided into a First and Second Tier, essentially inpatient and outpatient providers, respectively. Please see the complete definition.
- Moderna received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA, and has started to ship nationwide. (see more below)
- The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met over the weekend, and Saturday evening released revised interim recommendation on vaccine allocation. The ACIP recommendation continues to include people prioritized as 1A. It further recommends broadening current targets for vaccination to 1B. They have recommend 1B include all people over age 75 and frontline essential workers. See details.
- There was some precision around the definition off frontline essential workers, which includes about 30 million Americans:
- First Responders (firefighters, police)
- Education (teachers, support staff, daycare)
- Food & agriculture
- Corrections workers
- U.S. Postal Service workers
- Public transit workers
- Grocery store workers
- The ACIP makes these recommendations to the CDC. In turn, the CDC makes recommendations to the states, which are under no statutory obligation to adopt them. Many states do, other will make modifications.
- • In Texas, recommendations are developed by the COVID-19 Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP).
- • At this moment in time, we do not have information as to how the new ACIP/CDC recommendations will be adopted by the EVAP.
What is Baylor’s vaccine supply, and who is eligible to receive it?
- Baylor was not allocated any Pfizer vaccine last week, so we currently have zero supply. It was distributed exclusively to hospitals and long-term care facilities.
- All our clinical affiliates received allocations and have been extremely collaborative in getting our Phase 1A employees and learners vaccinated. Any images you may have seen online of Baylor people getting vaccinated has been through our affiliates.
- Baylor has worked to appropriately expand the Phase 1A definition to the greatest extent possible. For example, our priority list includes researchers who actually handle the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- To classify as Phase 1, students must be currently assigned to clinical environments. If you are in a classroom environment, you do not currently qualify.
- The ICC worked with department leadership across the college to categorize 1A employees.
- BSLMC has not yet exhausted its initial shipment of the Pfizer vaccine and is actively continuing to vaccinate. TCH has been allocated an additional 975 Pfizer doses. In total, Ben Taub Hospital used its initial allocation, but has been notified it will receive an additional 975 Pfizer doses. Harris County will receive an additional 5,850 Pfizer doses 67,000 Moderna doses.
- Good news: Baylor has been allocated 3,000 Moderna doses. At this time, we believe we will take shipment by the end of the week.
- At this moment, all providers of vaccine is still limited to Phase 1 indications, pending additional instruction from the EVAP. This guidance is expected very soon.
How do I know when I am eligible to receive vaccine?
- When you are eligible to receive vaccine, you will receive a personal email. It will be addressed to you, from either Baylor College of Medicine or one of our clinical affiliates. It will not be a forwarded email, or a general blast email to multiple parties.
That is all we know at this time. Please look for further communication from me in this format, and direct your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I appreciate your patience as we work to manage a relatively complex logistical challenge with limited and evolving information. It will not be perfect, but many on our Baylor team are working hard to get this done, and get it done right.
James T. McDeavitt, M.D.