Office of the VP for Communications – Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

A round of shots for everyone

Dec. 18, 2020

The year is quickly coming to a close, and I hope all of you will be able to enjoy winter break and connect safely with friends and loved ones. I join you in the optimism that 2021 will include a return toward normalcy in our personal and professional lives.

I also again want to share my deep thanks with you. This year had a seemingly endless array of challenges, and we were asked to be resilient, innovative, and patient – often all at the same time. It is a major accomplishment that the University of Michigan has continued to deliver on our mission during the pandemic.

That is a credit to all of you. In a year marked by turmoil and tragedy, you reminded those we serve why we are a premier public university. Our students made progress toward earning their degrees. Our instructors found new ways to teach effectively. Our hospitals and clinics provided life-saving care to millions. Our researchers created knowledge, inventions, and greater levels of understanding, including hundreds of insights into COVID-19 and its impacts.

Your input, ideas, and criticisms have made us a better university during the pandemic, as well. We’ve learned a tremendous amount from our community, and I appreciate your continued engagement on behalf of U-M.

Thank you so much.

Vaccination update

Vaccine arrives

Vaccine arrives at Michigan Medicine on Dec. 14. (Image credit: Joe Hallisy, Michigan Medicine.)

With FDA “emergency use authorization” of the COVID-19 vaccine, Michigan Medicine began vaccinating health care workers earlier this week. We received 1,950 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 14, and should continue to get more vaccine supply on a weekly basis. This is great news and, knowing how challenging the last year has been for all of us, we are optimistic about these first steps on our road back to normalcy after this long journey with COVID-19.

Our COVID-19 Vaccine & Therapeutics Taskforce is identifying the first groups to be vaccinated based on guidance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). MDHHS follows Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). ACIP is a CDC advisory committee made up of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States. The CDC and ACIP have defined populations for different vaccination phases:

  • Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Phase 1B includes workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets such as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories and mortuary services.
  • Phase 1C includes people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.
  • Phase 2 is a mass vaccination campaign for all adults
Health care workers

The first five frontline workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Image credit: Joe Hallisy, Michigan Medicine.)

To facilitate this process, all faculty, staff, and students from all three campuses and Michigan Medicine should complete our Blue Queue questionnaire.

Blue Queue is the official tool for all U-M faculty, staff, and students to indicate they would like to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the University. Even if you are unsure whether you want to be vaccinated, please fill out this online questionnaire to help us plan accordingly.  So far, more than 40,000 members of our community have filled out the questionnaire.

To help members of our community understand during which phase they may be eligible to receive a vaccine, our COVID-19 Vaccine & Therapeutics Taskforce has created an informational resource.

Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs Marschall Runge is also providing regular updates on our vaccination efforts. In addition, we are updating our FAQs frequently.

Campus Weekly COVID-19 Briefing Dec. 11, 2020

Note: This is the final weekly briefing for 2020. See all weekly briefings.

Shots in the arms

You can find more information on the Michigan Medicine Headlines page. We want to express our continuing thanks to the task force, whose members from both Michigan Medicine and the campus are working extremely hard to coordinate this effort. We also want to thank you in advance, for maintaining flexibility and patience throughout this very complex process, and for helping us to engage all of our community members.

This will be my final weekly COVID-19 update until January. You may also view the University Record for the latest stories and the Campus Maize and Blueprint site for updates.

I wish everyone a restful, safe, and healthy winter break. Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and GO BLUE!


Mark S. Schlissel, MD, PhD

Marschall S. Runge, MD, PhD
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs
Top image: The vaccine arrived at Michigan Medicine Dec. 14. PIctured, from left, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, U-M President Mark Schlissel, and Regina Byron, UPS. (Image credit: Joe Hallisy, Michigan Medicine.)

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