Dean Lairmore's COVID-19 Update - February 9, 2021
To the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine community:
It was great news when the campus was able to re-open COVID-19 vaccination appointments, and I’m hoping that all the qualified personnel from the school have taken the opportunity to get vaccinated. As I’ve noted previously, there is evidence building that workplaces where people have gotten vaccinated have reduced numbers of COVID-19 cases. Getting vaccinated is easier than ever, as new appointments are for the on-campus facility, and the university has streamlined its vaccine information and process on a new website.
On that site, you’ll note that Phase 1B, Tier 1 personnel are eligible to for appointments beginning this Wednesday, February 10. This includes a number of different groups, including in-person instructors, agricultural researchers, specialists and workers who are currently working in the field, and others. Please see the site for a complete list and more detailed guidance.
Also, I’m happy to say that with the more detailed guidance we’ve received, all veterinary students are now eligible to make appointments immediately.
Yesterday, the campus announced that our community testing program detected the first known B.1.1.7 variant of the SARS-CoV-2virus in the Sacramento region. The variant, originally emerged and spread in the U.K., was expected since it spreads easily and had already been detected in the Bay Area.
So far, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that our community has received have been shown to be effective against the variant. This is good news, but as we all know, there are many reasons to continue to be vigilant, even for those who have been vaccinated. Please get vaccinated when it’s your turn and continue to wear a mask and follow other public safety guidelines.
Daily Symptom Survey
As Chancellor May noted in his Friday email, the Daily Symptom Survey is now part of the Health-e-Messaging portal. You can also access the survey the “old” way, via the buttons on the Daily Symptom Survey webpage. Once you submit the survey, you will receive an email confirmation with detailed information about facility access and any additional items related to your survey status.
There were some issues with the system over the weekend, but they seem to be repaired. Overall, I think the campus has done an amazing job creating and improving these new systems within very short timeframes. They are working hard to keep us safe—and making things as convenient as possible.
News stories and the February 17 coronavirus town hall
I want to close by drawing your attention to two recent news stories. The first highlights the research of school professor Dr. Smita Iyer. Dr. Iyer has done important work to help us understand how long COVID-19 vaccines will be efficacious. You can watch the news story or read a summary of her research here.
Dr. Iyer is also one of our panelists for the school’s town hall on Wednesday, February 17 at noon, in which she will go more in-depth on her research on the immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Dr. Brian Bird, associate director and Sierra Leone global lead of the One Health Institute, will be our other panelist, providing information on viral variants in coronaviruses and how this may influence public health or responses to vaccination strategies.
This event, organized by the Dean’s Office, is an opportunity for the school’s community members to learn, ask questions and make suggestions to help improve the university’s response to the pandemic. Register in advance for this virtual town hall. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event. We encourage you to submit questions in advance. You can also watch the January Town Hall featuring Eric Kvigne, the campus’s Associate Vice Chancellor of Safety Services, and Dr. Richard Michelmore, the director of the Genome Center and the leader of UC Davis’ testing program.
The other news item is a heartwarming story of three of our first-year veterinary students. Despite the social distancing required by the pandemic, they were still able to get to know each other well enough to realize that they were all adopted from the same region of China through the same agency. There were more surprises, too, which you can discover by watching the news story. Bring your tissues!
I am so proud of this community and how we are weathering the adversities of these times. Stay safe and have a wonderful week.