Student workers, University employees eligible for vaccination

Los Angeles County moved forward to Phase 1B of vaccination rollouts as of March 1, opening eligibility to 16 to 64 year olds employed in childcare, food and agriculture, emergency services and education — including student workers.

This week, USC obtained a supply of more than 2,000 vaccines to distribute to its on-site employees, said Chief Health Officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman in a student media briefing Thursday. While working through Phase 1B, USC is prioritizing employees who have remained on site, who face higher risk through public-facing positions and who work in close contact with others, according to an email sent to University employees Feb. 22.  

“We were fortunate to get a specific allocation that we were able to provide directly to USC faculty and staff this week,” Van Orman said. “We don’t know if we’ll get that again or if that will continue, but our priority for vaccination this week has been staff who are working on campus [and] are essential employees.”

Specifically, this prioritizes those working in transportation, environmental services, custodial and housing, Van Orman said. 

Various students have also been notified of their eligibility for the vaccine based on their employment status through the University. However, USC’s supply of vaccines are limited and cannot be guaranteed to be distributed to all eligible employees at the moment, Van Orman said. 

“I think what the challenge is if we look at the list of the people who are employed and even working on site and the number of people versus the number of vaccines, we’re still a long way from being able to offer it to all people working on site,” Van Orman said.  

Although USC’s supply is limited, Van Orman suggested that anyone eligible for the vaccine find sites in L.A. County or an external location. 

“We’re also encouraging people — [because] even if they’re on that priority list, we may not be able to provide it to them and we don’t know when — if they have other opportunities to go ahead and take advantage of those opportunities,” Van Orman said. 

A city run vaccination site will open at the University Park Campus on Tuesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in a coronavirus briefing Thursday. The city will be sending mobile clinics into areas with vulnerable populations and aims to vaccinate residents 65 and older who cannot leave their homes due to illness or disability, he said.