UT Pharmacy's Vital Vaccination Role

January 15, 2021

Dear UT Pharmacy Community,

As we approach the spring 2021 semester, I wanted to highlight the amazing efforts and challenging work of our College of Pharmacy faculty, students, graduate students, residents and preceptors to keep our university community safe. Since the university began its Phase 1A COVID-19 vaccination efforts on December 15, UT Pharmacy has been an integral part of the immunization of front-line health care workers in both Austin and San Antonio.

The college is a key member of the university's Health and Wellness Taskforce, which is responsible for testing, contact tracing and vaccination; working collaboratively with the schools of nursing and medicine on both campuses. UT Pharmacy took the lead role for vaccine preparation in Austin and San Antonio and will continue to do so as the second doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are administered. 

In Austin, College of Pharmacy partners have prepared more than 6,000 vaccine doses for UT Health Austin employees; UT Austin faculty, staff and students in pharmacy, nursing and medicine; and Travis County first responders, including Fire and Rescue, Emergency Medical Services and UT Austin supported clinics.

In San Antonio, the college has prepared more than 16,000 vaccine doses for UT Health San Antonio, University Health System and South Texas Blood and Tissue Center employees and students. All doses were prepared exclusively by college personnel, who have worked diligently to ensure proper storage and handling of the Pfizer vaccine due to its ultra-cold storage and mixing requirements.

Even after entering Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination rollout, we still have a long road ahead of us to administer enough COVID-19 inoculations to begin a path to some form of normalcy at UT. The college will continue to be an embedded and integral part of the process; preparing, storing and administering vaccines with our university partners.

I want to especially thank two key players in these efforts: Dr. Grace Lee and Dr. Diane Ginsburg. Grace leads the college’s vaccination efforts in San Antonio and has important and deep clinical and research expertise regarding COVID-19 and vaccines. Diane serves as Associate Dean for Healthcare Partnerships and has worked closely with the college’s faculty, students, residents and other members of the university community to facilitate vaccination efforts in Austin. Both are amazing and hardworking representatives of the College of Pharmacy and most qualified to lead the charge.

As we move forward, there will be an additional need for volunteers to help with the vaccination effort. Thank you in advance to everyone in our pharmacy profession and our colleagues who will step up to meet this great societal need.

Our broad vaccination effort is truly a bright spot in what has been a challenging time. It is one clear example of how pharmacists work with our friends and colleagues in Nursing, Medicine, and Health Information Technology as an interprofessional team to battle this pandemic. The results of our collective effort will have a lasting positive impact and spotlight the importance of large-scale health and wellness efforts as we move into the future.

Once again, thank you! Take care of yourself and others, and Hook ‘em Horns!

Samuel Poloyac Signature

Samuel M. Poloyac, Pharm.D., Ph.D.
The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy