11:45 AM

Keck Medicine of USC Interim CEO: COVID-19 vaccine available to patients soon

Dear Valued Patient,

You probably want to know when you can expect to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and have questions about the availability and safety of a vaccine. I want to share with you the most updated information as we prepare to vaccinate patients according to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines.

When you can expect to be vaccinated

We will start rolling out vaccinations to our eligible patients starting the week of February 1.

Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and as mandated by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, health care workers are being prioritized in the earliest phase of patient vaccination, which is 1a. People 65 years of age and older are being included in the following phase of vaccines, 1b. (The age of those mandated by the county to receive the vaccine has been shifting; we will keep you informed of any changes.)

We are aware of the confusion based on the Governor’s announcement regarding vaccinating people 65 years and older and some counties have moved to this phase. Los Angeles County has not authorized vaccinations for anyone other than health care workers due to vaccine supply and predicts being able to do so in early February.

As vaccines become available for these and other groups of Keck Medicine patients, you will be invited to schedule an appointment for the first dose of the vaccine via the myUSCchart patient portal or by calling a dedicated phone line. The appointment for the second dose will then be set after the initial dose.

About the vaccine and cost of vaccine

Currently, Keck Medicine patients will receive either the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. A two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine offers 95% protection against the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2.

There should be no out-of-pocket cost to you when you are vaccinated. Costs for the vaccine will be billed to your insurance.

What you can do now

Please check your myUSCchart to make sure we have all of your current contact information. If you don’t have a myUSCchart account, you can find instructions on how to create one here.

As we move forward with vaccinations, please continue to check your chart for the latest details.

If you live in a community where vaccinations are available, please do not wait. Schedule a vaccine as soon as the opportunity arises.

Safety of the vaccine, including safety for cancer patients

COVID-19 vaccines are very safe and have gone through a rigorous FDA review. The most notable difference between the COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines is that there is a slightly higher risk of anaphylaxis, or an allergic reaction. As for other side effects, some people experience some tenderness at the site of the injection and some mild to moderate symptoms within 48-72 hours of receiving the vaccine, such as a temperature, chills and body aches. 

Patients who are immunocompromised (such as those undergoing cancer treatment) can receive the vaccine, but should first check with their doctor to review the risks and benefits.

For more information on vaccinations, please visit our website, where  you can learn more about the phased distributions of the vaccine and find answers to other questions you may have. We will also continue to update you on patient vaccines through emails.

Thank you again for trusting Keck Medicine of USC with your care as we enter into this hopeful next stage of vaccinating patients.


Rod Hanners

Interim CEO

Keck Medicine of USC