CUIMC COVID-19 Vaccine Committee Update

December 21, 2020

Dear colleagues: 
We are writing to share several important updates regarding our COVID-19 vaccination efforts at CUIMC. 
As you know, our partner NewYork-Presbyterian, under the leadership of Drs. Steven Corwin and Laura Forese, began vaccinating frontline health care workers, including Columbia faculty and staff, on Wednesday, December 16. Full-time providers and staff in the emergency departments and intensive care units at Milstein, Allen, CHONY, and Lawrence were immediately inoculated with the first available doses of vaccine. In the first three days more than 3,500 employees across the NYP system have received the initial dose of the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine. Amongst them are more than 600 CUIMC employees and CUIMC students who are serving in our EDs and ICUs. 
Yesterday another important milestone was reached as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee met and endorsed Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA is expected to authorize the vaccine for emergency use in the next 24 hours, which would allow 5.9 million doses of the vaccine to be shipped to sites across the nation as early as this weekend. We expect to be able to begin administering the Moderna vaccine and continue the Pfizer vaccine at CUIMC next week. 
On Monday, December 14, I announced that we had convened a committee to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines and to address other issues, including understanding the needs of the community, ensuring that health care disparities do not become barriers to vaccination, potential impact upon mental health, and other aspects. This week we added three members to the committee: Dustin T. Duncan, ScD, associate professor, Mailman School of Public Health; Stephen A. Ferrara, RN, DNP, FNP-BC, associate dean of clinical affairs, School of Nursing; and Biana Roykh, DDS, MPH, senior associate dean for clinical affairs, College of Dental Medicine. 
Today, we are launching a new CUIMC Vaccine Information Page. It includes information about the CUIMC Vaccine Committee and updated FAQs that have been informed by questions from health care workers and by our experience with the first stages of the vaccine roll-out. 
A prioritized roll-out of the vaccine will continue as we receive shipments of vaccine, beginning with health care providers and staff in patient-facing roles. In the weeks and months ahead, everyone at CUIMC – faculty, staff and trainees at all levels – will receive a COVID-19 vaccine free of charge. 
We ask for your continued patience and collaboration as we methodically make our way to every one of you as quickly as we can. We cannot thank you enough for all you have done and continue to do in support of our patients, our community, and each other. We again thank the NewYork-Presbyterian leadership and management for their partnership in this process. 
Sincerely yours, 
Anil K. Rustgi, MD  
Interim Executive Vice President and Dean of the   
Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine  

Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH  
Dean, Mailman School of Public Health  
Lorraine Frazier, RN, PhD  
Dean, School of Nursing  
Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent   
Dean, College of Dental Medicine  
George A. “Jack” Cioffi, MD 
President, ColumbiaDoctors 
Donna Lynne, DrPH 
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUIMC 
CEO, ColumbiaDoctors 
University COVID Director