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January 11, 2021

Dear Tufts Community,

Two COVID-19 vaccinations have been approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. We have established several working groups to ensure that the vaccine is distributed to our community as quickly as possible within the guidelines and priority phases established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Following the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ vaccine phasing guidelines, we have begun vaccinating members of the Tufts community identified as priority in Phase one (December 2020 – February 2021) of the Commonwealth’s rollout plan.

Phase 1 populations at Tufts include:

  • Clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers
    • Students, faculty and staff at the Medical and Dental Schools
    • Health Service staff
    • Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS) staff
  • First responders
    • Tufts Emergency Medical Services (TEMS) workers
    • Tufts University Policy Department (TUPD) officers
    • Tufts University Public Safety dispatchers

These vaccinations began on January 6, and it is our goal that all Tufts community members in phase one will receive their initial vaccination shot by the end of February with the second shot coming three or four weeks later depending which vaccine they have received.

We know that those who are not in this initial phase are anxious to learn when vaccines will become more broadly available and how they will be distributed within the Tufts community. We are working closely with the Massachusetts government, our host communities, and our partners at Tufts Medical Center to develop plans for vaccine distribution beyond phase one, but we do not have specific information available at this time.

It is important to note that everyone who has been vaccinated will be required to continue follow the university’s current public health safety protocols including continuing to wear face masks in public spaces, wearing appropriate PPE (goggles, N95s, etc.) in patient care settings, following physical distancing guidelines, practicing proper hand hygiene, and adhering to all relevant signage about eating and break room etiquette and proper mask wearing.

In addition, students, faculty and staff who have been vaccinated must remain in the routine COVID-19 surveillance testing. Similarly, they will continue to follow existing close contact quarantine and isolation protocols until further notice. It is not yet known whether the vaccine protects people from transmitting the virus to others (although you remain asymptomatic) or how long immunity lasts.

Though the vaccine is a cause for optimism, we are in a time of rising test positivity rates and the next few months will require all of us to remain highly vigilant and follow all university and community safety protocols. We urge you to stay safe and continue to exercise caution.

We will update you as we know more about COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans beyond phase one.

Sincerely yours,

Michael R. Jordan, M.D., M.P.H.
Infection Control Health Director