Pacific to begin COVID-19 vaccinations in partnership with San Joaquin County

Pacific Student Mixing Vaccine

Pacific and San Joaquin County Public Health Services will start administering COVID-19 vaccinations

University of the Pacific, in partnership with San Joaquin County Public Health Services, will start administering COVID-19 vaccinations on Sunday.

Several hundred Pacific community members on the Stockton Campus, including health care program faculty and students, health center staff, public safety personnel and employees age 65 and older, are eligible to receive their first vaccine doses in a campus drive-through clinic established as a pilot program. University and county officials hope after the pilot on Sunday that Pacific can start serving the wider San Joaquin community with additional county-supplied vaccines.

“We are eager to be able to help San Joaquin County successfully defeat this horrific virus,” said Maria Pallavicini, university provost and a biomedical scientist with degrees in pharmacology and biochemistry who is spearheading Pacific’s three-campus COVID-19 response efforts.

Pacific prepared to serve as an early vaccination hub by purchasing a special freezer that can store the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at minus 80 degrees Celsius, as required by Pfizer, and securing vaccinator certifications for students and faculty from the university’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy.

“The COVID-19 vaccination initiative illustrates Pacific’s learning and service mission: deep experiential learning for our students while providing critical services to our communities,” said Pacific President Christopher Callahan. “We are very proud of our students and faculty who will be on the frontlines administering the vaccines, and enormously fortunate to have the scientific and leadership skills of Maria Pallavicini to lead the initiative.”

Certified vaccinators include pharmacy and physician assistant studies students and their professors, who will be joined by volunteer area dentists, many of whom are alumni of Pacific’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. 

Callahan praised Dr. Maggie Park, the county public health officer, Dr. Pallavicini, and Dr. Judee Tippett-Whyte, a Dugoni alumna and president of the California Dental Association, for their ability to quickly combine forces to create the vaccination partnership. California's Department of Consumer Affairs approved a public health emergency waiver that allows dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines to people age 16 and older.

Pacific pharmacy professor, Dr. Veronica Bandy, and her students planned and coordinated the clinic. Bandy said the collaboration “demonstrates the important partnership between health care professionals and our community to bring an end to this pandemic.”

Meanwhile in San Francisco, the Dugoni School of Dentistry, together with pharmacy and physician assistant students, will begin COVID-19 vaccinations next weekend, with vaccines provided by the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

"We are proud to have the Dugoni School family step up to help face and end this pandemic," said Dugoni School Dean Nader Nadershahi. "We hope to serve as a COVID-19 vaccine distribution venue for the professional dental community in San Francisco, as well as the wider public when doses become available."

All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing coronavirus. Clinical trial data has shown that the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine is 95%. 

“The safety of the vaccine has been proven at this point,” said Dr. Rae R. Matsumoto, dean of Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy. “The development of the vaccine in less than one year is an historic accomplishment. I have a tremendous gratitude for the scientists who advanced these vaccines for rapid deployment against a global threat like COVID-19.”

Pacific students and professors are working on plans to create public information campaigns to encourage Californians to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and how they work, visit the San Joaquin County Public Health Services COVID-19 Vaccine General Information website.