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This message was sent to the Rockefeller community from the Office of the Executive Vice President on January 7, 2021 at 4:21 p.m.

Subject: COVID-19 reminders and vaccine information

Dear Rockefeller community members,

I hope that everyone enjoyed a peaceful, restorative and safe holiday break. I write with a few reminders and with information about Rockefeller’s status as a provider of COVID-19 testing and vaccines.

The reminders are the following:

  • As communicated on December 17, the university now has a mandatory COVID-19 testing program in place as of Monday, January 4. Please review the announcement and send any questions to rustrong@rockefeller.edu and/or restart@rockefeller.edu.
  • As many people did decide to travel over the holidays, please be sure that you are aware of the university’s travel policy, including the requirement to complete the online travel questionnaire if you travel outside of New York State or have close contact with someone who has traveled, and to follow OHS instructions regarding quarantine and clearance to return to campus.
  • Please continue vigilance in complying with university policies and best practices of wearing a mask, social distancing and hand hygiene.

Understandably, we have received many questions about if and when the university will be able to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to our staff. Last month, we submitted the required documentation to the CDC to serve as a provider of COVID-19 vaccines to our employees. Unlike other institutions with significant clinical activities and large populations of clinical care staff, we have not yet received any doses to begin vaccinations on campus. We are using our contacts with the city and state to try to determine a timeline for when we might secure vaccine doses, but do not yet have one. The Occupational Health Service team has procured supplies and is building the necessary ordering, distribution and reporting processes in accordance with NYC DOH. Guidance is changing quickly and new groups are becoming eligible weekly. Plans are in place to initiate vaccinations as soon as we receive doses. From the time that doses are delivered to campus, we expect to be able to vaccinate all staff with first shots within 2-3 weeks and complete the initial and booster shots to the entire community within six weeks (or 8 weeks in case the protocol calls for booster shots after 4 weeks instead of 3). We will follow NYS guidelines on prioritization within the phase of our distribution (which remain TBD) as they apply to those in our community and we will be transparent about our plans.

Under the leadership of the Rockefeller University Hospital, we have also identified a modest number of healthcare-related personnel who are eligible to receive vaccinations under the current DOH Phase 1A guidelines. The RUH has partnered with NYPH to offer the vaccine to these individuals starting this week.

In addition to the NYS DOH guidelines cited above, we note NYC DOH guidance in which we will be following eligibility as essential workers at an essential business.

Finally, we are well aware of some of the vaccine distribution policies and practices at other institutions in the city and beyond. We are in constant communication with other institutions and trying to increase consistency, equity and transparency as the vaccination programs move forward.

We will provide updates as warranted.

My thanks to everyone for our collective efforts to continue the safe operations on campus and maintain the health of all in our greater community.