USC will start single-dose COVID vaccinations on campus

All university employees are eligible and encouraged to sign up.

USC will begin administering the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Lyon Center on campus this week, the university’s chief health officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman announced in an email Mar. 9 to university faculty and staff.  Dr. Van Orman also encouraged all USC employees, including student workers, to sign up to receive the vaccine on campus or elsewhere as soon as possible.

Students and employees who fall under California’s Phase 1B guidelines can receive the newly available Johnson & Johnson vaccination as soon as Thursday, according to an email sent to Viterbi student workers on Mar. 8. Students living off-campus or working remotely will be able to access the vaccination clinic site at University Park Campus.

“This [vaccination cycle] included mostly PhD, some masters students and very few undergraduates. They were invited based on the research they conduct on campus and the frequency with which they need to come to campus,” said Amy Blumenthal, Viterbi’s director of media relations, in an email to Annenberg Media.

USC student Radhika Bhuckory, an undergraduate student researcher within Viterbi, received the email regarding her vaccination eligibility and was excited about the prospect of receiving the vaccine.

“After getting the vaccine, I will be able to go on campus and start working in the lab again,”  Bhuckory told Annenberg Media. “If I have the vaccine, I’ll have the opportunity to physically go into the lab and experiment with the lasers and optical table.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has proven to be 66% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection and 85% effective at preventing severe cases, according to the Mar. 9 email. Clinical trials found the vaccine provided the most protection two weeks after being administered. The new single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine began initial rollout on Mar. 1 following months of two dose vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Pfzier.

In California, vaccination rollout has begun Phase 1B. This second phase includes three sectors: agriculture and food, emergency services and education and childcare.

Bhuckory said, “Although I’ve been seeing vaccines being distributed on the news for the past couple of months, getting this email made things very real. It brought hope that things are getting better and we are moving in the right direction to slowly return to normalcy.”

USC students and faculty can find out if they are eligible on the state’s My Turn site.