14:59 PM

Update from Keck Medicine interim CEO about COVID-19 vaccines

January 5, 2020

Dear Valued Patient,

There is no question that our world has been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. But thanks to the diligent work of researchers and clinicians, we are entering the new year with hope and trust in vaccines created to protect us from the novel coronavirus.

Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), distribution of the vaccines is rolling out in phases. We anticipate that in the next few weeks, vaccinations will become available to certain targeted groups of our patients, starting with groups of people who are at higher risk for COVID-19.

Health care workers, essential workers and older adults (age 75 and older) are prioritized in the earliest phases of patient vaccination, with other groups of people included in subsequent phases. Below you will find information about those included in the Phases 1A and 1B.

Phase 1A

  • Health care workers
  • Dental and oral health care workers
  • EMTs and paramedics
  • Pharmacy staff

Phase 1B

  • People ages 75 and older
  • Frontline essential workers
    • Corrections
    • Education (teachers, support staff, daycare)
    • Food & agriculture
    • First responders (firefighters, police)
    • Grocery
    • Manufacturing
    • Public transit
    • U.S. Postal Service

For more detailed information about phases of vaccine distribution, click here.

Keck Medicine is currently vaccinating individuals in Phase 1A and plans to work with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to move as quickly as possible towards offering the vaccine to those in Phase 1B. More communication will be coming from Keck Medicine in the coming weeks about scheduling your appointments for the first and second dose of the vaccines. For those in the essential worker category, you may be asked to provide proof of employment within this category upon registration.

You may have questions, and below we answer three frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Is the vaccine safe?In clinical trials for vaccines produced by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna, participants did not experience any life-threatening events that were attributed to the vaccine. Keck Medicine has vaccinated over 4,000 members of our workforce and they have had no adverse reactions, to date.
  • When will I be able to get the vaccine?Keck Medicine is following recommendations from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health on how to distribute of the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are being rolled out to patients in phases, beginning with groups of people who are at higher risk for COVID-19.
  • Will the vaccine work against new COVID-19 variants?Viruses constantly change through mutation, and multiple COVID-19 mutations are circulating the around the world. New variants, such as those recently identified in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and South Africa, appear to spread more easily. There is no evidence at this time that these mutations are changing the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, however scientists are working to learn more about them.

For additional answers to common questions, as well as more resources from Keck Medicine of USC, please visit KeckMedicine.org/coronavirus-vaccine. This website will continue to be updated as information changes.

Your health and safety continue to be our top priority, and I want to let you know that we are here to keep you healthy in 2021 and beyond.


Rod Hanners

Interim CEO

Keck Medicine of USC