COVID-19 vaccination information
As we begin 2021, I hope that you all had a safe and restful break over the holidays. With the new year, and increasing distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, we wanted to share some information with you and let you know how we are working on this issue. This message is based on current information, but the guidance and actual distribution of the vaccine is changing rapidly and can vary by county or community.
First, it is important to understand that while the vaccine is a significant development to ending the pandemic, we still have a long road ahead and need to stay the course to maintain our current safety protocols for the next several months. For example, if you get a vaccine, you will still need to use a face covering when out in public or at work, you will still need to maintain distance from other people, still practice frequent handwashing and disinfection of surfaces, and you should continue to work at home if you can. We will continue to monitor public health and safety guidance and revise our safety protocols at the appropriate time.
According to the CDC there are several benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. If you receive the vaccination, it will reduce your likelihood of getting COVID-19. Based on what is known about other vaccines and from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, but it is not clear if some individuals who have been vaccinated could still transmit COVID-19.
The state is employing a phased approach to vaccine distribution, based on risk factors for individuals, such as age and health conditions, as well as occupational risk of exposure. As described on the state's vaccine website (https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/#When-can-I-get-vaccinated), the first group of people to be vaccinated, Phase 1A, are healthcare workers and long-term care residents. While that group is still receiving vaccinations now, the state is planning for subsequent groups of people who should receive the vaccination next, while also taking steps to speed up the process. Phase 1B includes individuals 75 and older and those at risk of exposure at work in certain business sectors, including education and food and agriculture, among others. Subsequent phases and tiers will include an increasing number of people, based on personal risk factors (age and health conditions) and risk of exposure.
For ANR, this means that some of our employees will have the opportunity to receive the vaccination earlier than others, based on their relative risks. Based on current information, ANR employees who are actively working in the field in support of agriculture (such as ag technicians, research associates, farm advisors, etc.) may be eligible to receive the vaccination during Phase 1B. Similarly, our employees who are engaged in education programs that put them in contact with other people could be eligible in Phase 1B. Later, Phase 1C will include “government operations / community-based essential functions” which may include additional ANR employees, as well as additional people based on age or health risk.
We are engaged with working groups at the UC systemwide level to keep informed about how vaccines may be coming directly to the UC community and how UC ANR employees can have access to those systemwide vaccination efforts through our local campuses or other UC programs. Our employees will be included in UC's requests to the state for vaccines. UC's vaccination planning places an emphasis on getting vaccinations to patients in the UC health systems and higher-risk employees. Additionally, we encourage everyone to stay informed about what is happening with vaccine availability in your community. You may have the opportunity to receive the vaccination through your county public health office or other local sources, if you meet the criteria due to personal risk factors, or your job classification. Some of our UCCE offices have already been told that they are part of their county's plans for vaccinating workers in the agriculture and education sectors. We have been encouraged to get the vaccine as soon we have the opportunity to do so.
The information shared here is based on current guidance and discussions with various stakeholders and authorities who are planning and guiding the distribution of vaccines. We have also prepared Vaccine FAQs to provide additional information and updates as they become available.
This has been a challenging time for all of us, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Help us stay the course to get through this next phase.
Zoom phone licenses
Due to COVID restrictions, staff working remotely may have been required to make business-related phone calls using their personal cell phones. This may have presented a security risk to staff who wish to keep their personal phone numbers private to external parties.
To help staff with security, ANR has purchased Zoom Phone licenses, allowing staff to make business-related phone calls using the Zoom app.
Zoom Phones are an add-on license to an existing Zoom account. Zoom Phones provide staff a new business-related phone number, and staff can make calls using the desktop app and mobile app. Voicemail and voicemail transcription is also included with a Zoom Phone. More information about Zoom Phones can be found at https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360028936531-Getting-started-with-Zoom-Phone-users-.
Please respond to this survey if you think you or your staff may need this feature added to your Zoom account.