April 22, 2021
To: Members of the University Community
From: Katie Callow-Wright, Executive Vice President of the University and Chief of Staff in the Office of the President
I am writing with an update on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for the University community, including multiple opportunities for University of Chicago employees and students to get vaccinated in the coming weeks.
Beginning Phase 2
As of April 19, Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccine distribution has begun in Chicago. This means that all city residents age 16 and over are now eligible for vaccination, with greatest availability expected in May and June. We strongly encourage all members of the University community to be vaccinated at the earliest opportunity, whether through the University’s dedicated vaccine clinic, as a patient through UChicago Medicine (UCM), or through other providers. You can find a list of vaccination options at the UChicago Forward website.
Offering Student Vaccinations
We are pleased to announce that starting in early May, the dedicated vaccine clinic for University personnel will broaden availability and offer vaccinations for all students, beyond just students with high-risk medical conditions or paid University duties. Students will be notified in randomized batches over a period of weeks, to avoid exceeding clinic capacity and vaccine availability. More than 4,700 employees, students and others have received at least one vaccine dose from the University’s dedicated clinic during Phase 1c alone.
The UChicago vaccine clinic is continuing to use the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which requires two doses administered approximately three weeks apart, and most vaccine providers (including UChicago and UCM) require individuals to get both doses from the same provider to manage vaccine supply. Students and others who are leaving Chicago once Spring Quarter ends (on June 12) must get their first vaccine dose by May 21 at the latest, to allow time for a second appointment before they leave Chicago.
This timing means there is a narrow window of vaccination during Phase 2 for those who plan to leave Chicago on or around June 12. There may not be sufficient time or capacity for the University clinic to vaccinate all students who wish to receive both doses before the end of Spring Quarter. As a result, we encourage all students to pursue the first available option for vaccination, whether through our vaccine clinic or another provider. For those who are staying in Chicago past Spring Quarter, the University plans to continue offering vaccinations well into summer.
If you are vaccinated by a different provider using the Moderna vaccine, keep in mind that the time period between shots for the Moderna vaccine is 4 weeks. You should factor this timing into travel plans. Individuals are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Here is the expected timeline for the University’s dedicated vaccine clinic:
- April 19 – May 5: Administering second shots for people eligible in Phase 1c
- Early May – May 21: Offering first shots for those who have yet to receive an invitation in Phase 1c and all other students eligible in Phase 2; May 21 is the last date someone can receive their first dose if they plan to leave immediately after the Spring Quarter ends on June 12.
- May 22 – June 30: Continued vaccination for eligible University personnel and students, with varying weeks focused on either first or second doses.
- July – September: Encouraging vaccination for remaining populations on campus
Maintaining Vaccination Records
We ask that all University students and employees keep a record of your COVID-19 vaccination – whether that is in the form of an electronic record (including a photograph of the vaccination record) or an official printed document. A number of universities have required students or others to provide proof of vaccination as a condition of attending in-person classes and other activities starting in fall of 2021. The University of Chicago is considering whether to enact such requirements, and other organizations or activities may require evidence of vaccinations. Preserving records of your vaccination will help facilitate this process if the University requires proof of vaccination.
With a growing number of vaccination options in Chicago and around the nation, there should be enough capacity for most University students and employees to be fully vaccinated by the end of June. We encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities, and we will keep you informed on vaccination opportunities and University vaccination policies as they develop.